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Conceived in 1943, completed in 1945, and decommissioned in 1955, ENIAC (the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) was the first general-purpose programmable electronic computer. But ENIAC was more than just a milestone on the road to the modern computer. During its decade of operational life, ENIAC calculated sines and cosines and tested for statistical outliers, plotted the trajectories of bombs and shells, and ran the first numerical weather simulations. ENIAC in Action tells the whole story for the first time, from ENIAC's design, construction, testing, and use to its afterlife as part of computing folklore. It highlights the complex relationship of ENIAC and its designers to the revolutionary approaches to computer architecture and coding first documented by John von Neumann in 1945.Within this broad sweep, the authors emphasize the crucial but previously neglected years of 1947 to 1948, when ENIAC was reconfigured to run what the authors claim was the first modern computer program to be executed: a simulation of atomic fission for Los Alamos researchers. The authors view ENIAC from diverse perspectives -- as a machine of war, as the "first computer," as a material artifact constantly remade by its users, and as a subject of (contradictory) historical narratives. They integrate the history of the machine and its applications, describing the mathematicians, scientists, and engineers who proposed and designed ENIAC as well as the men -- and particularly the women who -- built, programmed, and operated it.
Thirteen of Mahoney's essays and papers covering historiography, software engineering, and theoretical computer science.
with the cooperation of Robert V. D. CampbellThis collection of technical essays and reminiscences is a companion volume to I. Bernard Cohen's biography, Howard Aiken: Portrait of a Computer Pioneer. After an overview by Cohen, Part I presents the first complete publication of Aiken's 1937 proposal for an automatic calculating machine, which was later realized as the Mark I, as well as recollections of Aiken's first two machines by the chief engineer in charge of construction of Mark II, Robert Campbell, and the principal programmer of Mark I, Richard Bloch. Henry Tropp describes Aiken's hostility to the exclusive use of binary numbers in computational systems and his alternative approach.Part II contains essays on Aiken's administrative and teaching styles by former students Frederick Brooks and Peter Calingaert and an essay by Gregory Welch on the difficulties Aiken faced in establishing a computer science program at Harvard. Part III contains recollections by people who worked or studied with Aiken, including Richard Bloch, Grace Hopper, Anthony Oettinger, and Maurice Wilkes. Henry Tropp provides excerpts from an interview conducted just before Aiken's death. Part IV gathers the most significant of Aiken's own writings. The appendixes give the specs of Aiken's machines and list his doctoral students and the topics of their dissertations.
This edition provides a fascinating glimpse into the technology behind the world's first electronic, general-purpose computer, conceived by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert and financed by the Ordnance Department of the U.S. Army. The Army's intent was to use it to calculate artillery firing tables but eventually it was even used to compute data for the design of the hydrogen bomb.
Presents a history of the world's first programmable computer, ENIAC, and its creators, a team funded by the U.S. Army and led by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert, and discusses their race to complete the computer and their struggle to take credit for their discovery. Reprint.
In The Government Machine, Jon Agar traces the mechanization of government work in the United Kingdom from the nineteenth to the early twenty-first century. He argues that this transformation has been tied to the rise of "expert movements," groups whose authority has rested on their expertise. The deployment of machines was an attempt to gain control over state action -- a revolutionary move. Agar shows how mechanization followed the popular depiction of government as machine-like, with British civil servants cast as components of a general purpose "government machine"; indeed, he argues that today's general purpose computer is the apotheosis of the civil servant.Over the course of two centuries, government has become the major repository and user of information; the Civil Service itself can be seen as an information-processing entity. Agar argues that the changing capacities of government have depended on the implementation of new technologies, and that the adoption of new technologies has depended on a vision of government and a fundamental model of organization. Thus, to study the history of technology is to study the state, and vice versa.
The computer services industry has worldwide annual revenues of nearly a trillion dollars and employs millions of workers, but is often overshadowed by the hardware and software products industries. In this book, Jeffrey Yost shows how computer services, from consulting and programming to data analytics and cloud computing, have played a crucial role in shaping information technology -- in making IT work. Tracing the evolution of the computer services industry from the 1950s to the present, Yost provides case studies of important companies (including IBM, Hewlett Packard, Andersen/Accenture, EDS, Infosys, and others) and profiles of such influential leaders as John Diebold, Ross Perot, and Virginia Rometty. He offers a fundamental reinterpretation of IBM as a supplier of computer services rather than just a producer of hardware, exploring how IBM bundled services with hardware for many years before becoming service-centered in the 1990s. Yost describes the emergence of companies that offered consulting services, data processing, programming, and systems integration. He examines the development of industry-defining trade associations; facilities management and the firm that invented it, Ross Perot's EDS; time sharing, a precursor of the cloud; IBM's early computer services; and independent contractor brokerages. Finally, he explores developments since the 1980s: the transformations of IBM and Hewlett Packard; the offshoring of enterprises and labor; major Indian IT service providers and the changing geographical deployment of U.S.-based companies; and the paradigm-changing phenomenon of cloud service.

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