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KF5JRV > TODAY    14.06.19 13:45l 8 Lines 3447 Bytes #6 (0) @ WW
BID : 38067_KF5JRV
Subj: Today in History
Sent: 190614/1134Z 38067@KF5JRV.#NWAR.AR.USA.NA BPQ6.0.18

On June 14, 1951, the U.S. Census Bureau dedicates UNIVAC, the world’sfirst commercially produced electronic digital computer. UNIVAC, whichstood for Universal Automatic Computer, was developed by J. PresperEckert and John Mauchly, makers of ENIAC, the first general-purposeelectronic digital computer. These giant computers, which used thousandsof vacuum tubes for computation, were the forerunners of today’s digitalcomputers.The search for mechanical devices to aid computation began in ancienttimes. The abacus, developed in various forms by the Babylonians,Chinese, and Romans, was by definition the first digital computerbecause it calculated values by using digits. A mechanical digitalcalculating machine was built in France in 1642, but a 19th centuryEnglishman, Charles Babbage, is credited with devising most of theprinciples on which modern computers are based. His “Analytical Engine,öbegun in the 1830s and never completed for lack of funds, was based on amechanical loom and would have been the first programmable computer.By the 1920s, companies such as the International Business MachinesCorporation (IBM) were supplying governments and businesses with complexpunch-card tabulating systems, but these mechanical devices had only afraction of the calculating power of the first electronic digitalcomputer, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC). Completed by JohnAtanasoff of Iowa State in 1939, the ABC could by 1941 solve up to 29simultaneous equations with 29 variables. Influenced by Atanasoff’swork, Presper Eckert and John Mauchly set about building the firstgeneral-purpose electronic digital computer in 1943. The sponsor was theU.S. Army Ordnance Department, which wanted a better way of calculatingartillery firing tables, and the work was done at the University ofPennsylvania.ADVERTISEMENTENIAC, which stood for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator,was completed in 1946 at a cost of nearly $500,000. It took up 15,000feet, employed 17,000 vacuum tubes, and was programmed by plugging andreplugging some 6,000 switches. It was first used in a calculation forLos Alamos Laboratories in December 1945, and in February 1946 it wasformally dedicated.Following the success of ENIAC, Eckert and Mauchly decided to go intoprivate business and founded the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation.They proved less able businessmen than they were engineers, and in 1950their struggling company was acquired by Remington Rand, an officeequipment company. On June 14, 1951, Remington Rand delivered its firstcomputer, UNIVAC I, to the U.S. Census Bureau. It weighed 16,000 pounds,used 5,000 vacuum tubes, and could perform about 1,000 calculations persecond. On November 4, 1952, the UNIVAC achieved national fame when itcorrectly predicted Dwight D. Eisenhower’s unexpected landslide victoryin the presidential election after only a tiny percentage of the voteswere in.UNIVAC and other first-generation computers were replaced by transistorcomputers of the late 1950s, which were smaller, used less power, andcould perform nearly a thousand times more operations per second. Thesewere, in turn, supplanted by the integrated-circuit machines of themid-1960s and 1970s. In the 1980s, the development of the microprocessormade possible small, powerful computers such as the personal computer,and more recently the laptop and hand-held computers.

73 de Scott KF5JRV


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