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Eckert and Mauchly: Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), 1949

Expedited Engineering

Because of the ENIAC's status as a wartime project, its engineers were forced to work expediently and to develop reliable, straightforward designs. Even as they drove the ENIAC towards completion, Mauchly, Eckert and their engineering team members were devising methods of simplifying the process of programming and wiring the machine. Mauchly and Eckert entered into joint discussions with accomplished mathematician John von Neumann, out of which came plans for the EDVAC—the Electronic Discrete Variable Calculator. Von Neumann drafted a report entitled "First Draft Report of the EDVAC Design," which Goldstine circulated widely. The dissemination of this document made public the knowledge of the EDVAC, and made controversial the question of which parties should be credited with its creation.

The Pennsylvania Gazette printed an article on the ENIAC in 1946, highlighting a congratulatory telegram sent to then-Penn President Dr. George William McClelland from the U.S. Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson. "The device [ENIAC] will not only further military sciences including ballistics but will immeasurably further all advanced scientific research," wrote Secretary Patterson. You can peruse the full text of this article by clicking on the thumbnails at right.