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Comments, Queries, and Debate: The Stored-Program Concept: A Reprise Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129840D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Apr-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 19K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Henry S. Troop: AUTHOR [+2]


Department of Mathematics Humboldt State University Arcata, CA 95521 USA

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 33% of the total text.

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Copyright ©; 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Comments, Queries, and Debate: The Stored-Program Concept: A Reprise

Henry S. Troop

Department of Mathematics Humboldt State University Arcata, CA 95521 USA

For historians interested in establishing the individual responsible for the conception of an important new idea in the world of technology, the stored-program concept has been and most likely will continue to be a scholarly battlefield. At Pioneer Day at the National Computer Conference in 1982 in Houston, Nancy Stern organized and chaired a session on the subject. Included were four of the major participants in the period of conception and implementation: J. Presper Eckert, Herman H. Goldstine, Maurice V. Wilkes, and Richard F. Clippinger. (For a report of this discussion, see William F. Aspray, Annals, Vol. 4, No. 4, pp. 358-361, October 1982. For anyone interested in a full account, audiotapes were made, although I do not know where a set is at this time.)

When a small number of us, under the leadership of the late Aaron Finerman, decided in 1977 that the time was ripe to found this publication, we all agreed that its central goal should be to make it the journal of record. R is in that spirit that I add the following document to our pages. Although the complete report exists in the Moore School archives, I have not located any reprint in a more easily accessible source.

A few weeks ago, while cleaning out some files, I ran across a communication from the late John Mauchly, dated August 1978. I can't believe that I misplaced it 16 years ago. The reference to the document is Eckert, I.P., and I.W. Mauchly, "Automatic high speed computing: a progress report on the EDVAC," Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania (September 1945). The material reproduced here appears in the Johnson volume that Mauchly cites on pp. 184-187.

  (Image Omitted: To my knowledge, the only book which has gone to the historical source to verify the facts as to the origin of the stored-program concept is now out of print. The following passages are copies of the text whish Lyle Johnson reprinted from the 1945 EDVAC report when he published System Structures In Data, Programs and Computers, published by Prentice-Hall, 1970. Any differences between this copy and the original EDVAC report are typographical and do not affect the substance of the text. signed John W. Mauchly)

The book by Johnson contains a reprint of a part of the 1945 paper by Eckert and Mauchly and, in his transmission of the pages to me, he highlighted three paragraphs:

(Image Omitted: Referring to the successor machine to the ENIAC: "An important feature of this device (a 'magnetic calculating machine') was that operating instructions and function tables would be stored in exactly the same sort of memory device as that used for...