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This web site is devoted to ENIAC — “Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer”. ENIAC was the first general-purpose electronic computer. It was made at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering during World War II under the code name "Project PX". Physics professor John W. Mauchly and electrical engineer J. Presper Eckert led the team. Both were civilian employees whose computer work was funded by the United States Army Ballistics Research Laboratory. This is a collection of the best online information about the ENIAC and the people that created it. (The information is divided into these categories - Select a link or scroll down to read the blog.)

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Was it the first computer?

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The ENIAC patent trial

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The Computer History Museum opens its big new exhibit

The world’s premier computer history museum has opened its biggest exhibit ever, site an ambitious survey of 2000 years of computing. What would be better publicity than a little controversy? They are diving right into it. The opening picture for the exhibit is none other than our favorite, malady the Atanasoff-Berry Computer. On Jan 27 they will welcome Jane Smiley, author of a new book about Atanasoff, for a “conversation” in front of a public audience.
We are not sure how much the Mountain View, California audience will know about or care about the goings on in the 1940s, back when computer memory was measured in words, not gigabytes. What is so interesting about that old battle between the Mauchly-ites and the Atanasoviets, primitive warring tribes from a distant part of the continent?
I guess we will have to wait and see. My experience with computer historians at the museum and elsewhere is that they do not like to be told what is, or what isn’t, a computer. I’m not sure why they would like it any better if it were coming from a non-technical fiction author who usually writes about horses. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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2 Responses to “The Computer History Museum opens its big new exhibit”

  1. steve Says:

    The new Computer Museum is not a credible and honest version of what the history of the computer is. Describing Von Neumann in glowing terms without stating that he DID in fact steal the idea of the computer architecture from Eckert and Mauchly, as most fair people acknowledge, says alot about the museum. It’s just selling the Von Neumann gang’s manufactured version of events which has disreputable motives. Goldstine, Smiley, Burks etc are part of this same gang.
    Needless to say, they also describe the Atanasoff’s ABC in glowing terms stating that computer was completed in 1942. Atanasoff himself stated that the ABC was never completed.
    Looking at the people heading this Museum, they sound suspiciously incompetent. They seem to have mainly a business background and have no technical expertise. They are just making a movie and I find it quite scandalous.

  2. Gini M Calcerano Says:

    The CHM is making a movie?
    You are right that people make claims for Atanasoff that he never made for himself. Unfortunately he didn’t work hard to change their minds, either. Like Von Neumann.
    This is an interesting, and I think accurate take on the people currently in charge of the CHM. Tell us more about the movie?

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