[E–pub/Pdf] The Man Who Invented the Computer author Jane Smiley

The Man Who Invented the ComputerHe history of computing is one of my favourite topics While had heard about Atanasoff and his ABC computer before and ven that it was to be the first computer in a before and ven that it was judged to be the first computer in a case I never knew the details of ither This book does a good job of covering both the ABC and the Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild early years of modern computingDespite the book s name Smiley realizes that one person did not invent the computer What we think of as a modern computer is a broad collection of ideas including high speed random access memory secondary storageg disk programmability and of course accurate and high speed computationWhile these ideas might seem obvious today in the 1940s they not only had to be discovered for the first time but also reliable and Hard Bread (Phoenix Poets efficient implementations had to be found Mostarly computers up to and including ENIAC did not implement them all and so are not really modern computers The ABC for instance only solved systems of linear Electromyography for Experimentalists euations It could not be programmed to do anythinglse To call the ABC the first computer is not satisfying since programmability is one of the key Forgetful of Their Sex: Female Sanctity and Society, ca. 500-1100 elements of a modern computerSmiley understands this and so spends time discussing the ideas and accomplishments of other computer researchers of the day The invention of the computer was a groupffort "that combined both theoretical and practical ideas from many people Atanasoff was probably the first to "combined both theoretical and practical ideas from many people Atanasoff was probably the first to a few of them but he didn t implement them all and may not have grasped the idea of a computer being a universal machine that could be programmed to do any computation Konrad Zuse may be a better candidate for the title inventor of the computer since he implemented. Moving drum to serve as memory could yield a computing machine that would make his life and the lives of other similarly burdened scientists asier Then he went back and built the machine It worked The whole world changed Why don’t we know the name of John Atanasoff as well as we know those of Alan Turing and John von Neumann Because he never patented the device and because the developers of the far better known ENIAC. .

Summary The Man Who Invented the Computer

The first Turing complete lectronic computer machine in 1941The book nds with a discussion of John "von Neumann Von Neumann is linked to the invention of the "Neumann Von Neumann is linked to the invention of the thanks to his name being the only one on the draft report of the EDVAC The report was a team ffort but von Neumann was the rock star one of the greatest mathematicians of the century Wicked Loving Lies even ignoring his work on computation He also had military and political connections and so ultimately got credit than he probably deserved Yet he was a fascinating and important figure and much of the work he later did on his own computer project was also important While it can be said that he definitely did not invent the computer he did help popularize it and had a hand in designing some of its basic components He also understood the importance of Alan Turing s theoretical work that put the instructions for controlling a computer into its memory along with all the other data A great non geek but technical report of the WW IIra computer pioneers including Turing von Neumann Zuse in Europe and others Atanasoff has been presented by others as being an underdog but he was apparently a crank who died rich Was Atanasoff s graduate assistant later killed because he was the only other witness in a patent trial who could testify to their use of vacuum tubes as relays Zuse
a blind programmer and was to build his computer in Europe while it was being bombed Did Braille influence the development of binary characters Turing s interactions are also noted although these have already been well published These people were not a lot of boring geeks There is a lot of motion and intrigue here. Almost certainly stole critical ideas from him But in 1973 a court declared that the patent on that Sperry Rand device was invalid opening the intellectual property gates to the computer revolution Jane Smiley tells the uintessentially American story of the child of immigrants John Atanasoff with technical clarity and narrative drive making the race to develop digital computing as gripping as a real life techno thriller. ,
The modern computer had many arly developers The book focuses on Atanasoff original ABC computer and other key people involved in development of the computer The computer EVOLVED AS NUMEROUS PEOPLE WORKED TO as numerous people worked to workable machines mostly in order to further their nations fforts in World War II This book says it is a biography of Atanasoff but it talks just as much about Zuse Turing Von Neumann Eckert and Mauchly The ABC was important the first lectronic digital computer but it wasn t a universal machine ENIAC 1946 was a universal Turing machine but the programming was still done by physical rewiring It was the SSEM and Mark I still done by physical rewiring It was the SSEM and Mark I out of Manchester that were the first computers that used software storing programs in the same way they stored data A compiler for xample was only possible on the Mark IAnyway the book is mostly about who got what ideas from who which I guess is important but I didn t really care that much about who gets credit I just wanted to understand better how we had gotten from specialized punch card machines and analog lectronic designs to universal digital computersAlthough it didn t mention much about it in the book I think IBM deserves a lot of credit for building the first commercially available computers The Mark I was built in 1948 and "within four years IBM had managed to come up with a design that was able to "four years IBM had managed to come up with a design that was able to mass produced the IBM 701 I was looking forward to reading this but was pretty disappointed The author has obviously spent a lot of time researching the facts Unfortunately she spends most of her time repeating very bit of information she found instead of constructing a compelling narrative From one of our most acclaimed novelists a  David and Goliath biography for the digital ageOne night in the late 1930s in a bar on the Illinois–Iowa border John Vincent Atanasoff a professor of physics at Iowa State University after a frustrating day performing tedious mathematical calculations in his lab hit on the idea that the binary number system and lectronic switches com­bined with an array of capacitors on