Computer: The Eniac Computer

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The ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator) was the first computer developed in the United States. John Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering created the Eniac Computer. John Mauchly was the chief consultant and John Presper Eckert was the chief engineer. John Presper Eckert obtained his Bachelor's degree in electrical engineering in 1941 and his Master's degree in 1943, which qualified him to be chief engineer on the project. John Mauchly received his Bachelor's, Master's and Doctorate degree at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in physics. John Eckert met John Mauchly when he was a graduate student. It took Mauchly and Eckert one year to design and 18 months to build the Eniac. The Eniac could hardly be considered “just a computer” due to its massive size and speed. One programmer of the Eniac described the machine as being “faster than thought.” This statement is not invalid due to the Eniac being able to calculate 5000 additions problems, 357 multiplications or 38 divisions in one second. It could perform the functions that one man would spend 20 hours on in around 15 minutes. This was one thousand times faster than any other calculating machine to date. The use of vacuum tubes rather than switches and relays created the increase in speed. These vacuum tubes made it a tough machine to re-program. Programming changes would take the technician’s weeks, and the machine always required long hours of maintenance. However this wasn’t a total bust because this led to many improvements in the vacuum tube. All of this speed and the large number of components that make up the Eniac did not come at a cheap price. The total price of the f... ... middle of paper ... ...ce Discrete Variable Automatic Computer), both faster than Eniac, began to share the Computing Laboratory's workload with the ENIAC in 1953. It became noticeable almost immediately that the Eniac would have to be modified if it were to remain competitive, economical, and efficient. Even with these transformations and the fact that trouble-free operating time remained at about a 100 hours a week during the last 6 years of the Eniac’s operation, its operating costs were way more expensive then those of the EDVAC and ORDVAC. The Eniac was no longer competitive economically. The workload gradually shifted to the other machines, and at 11:45 p.m. on October 2, 1955, the power to the Eniac was cut off. Although the Eniac’s purpose was over it still played a major role in the development of the computer industry. “It's death was a natural one, it had served its purpose.”
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