The First Computers: History and Architectures

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Raśl Rojas, Ulf Hashagen
MIT Press, 2002 - Computers - 472 pages
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This history of computing focuses not on chronology (what came first and who deserves credit for it) but on the actual architectures of the first machines that made electronic computing a practical reality. The book covers computers built in the United States, Germany, England, and Japan. It makes clear that similar concepts were often pursued simultaneously and that the early researchers explored many architectures beyond the von Neumann architecture that eventually became canonical. The contributors include not only historians but also engineers and computer pioneers.An introductory chapter describes the elements of computer architecture and explains why "being first" is even less interesting for computers than for other areas of technology. The essays contain a remarkable amount of new material, even on well-known machines, and several describe reconstructions of the historic machines. These investigations are of more than simply historical interest, for architectures designed to solve specific problems in the past may suggest new approaches to similar problems in today's machines.Contributors: Titiimaea F. Ala'ilima, Lin Ping Ang, William Aspray, Friedrich L. Bauer, Andreas Brennecke, Chris P. Burton, Martin Campbell-Kelly, Paul Ceruzzi, I. Bernard Cohen, John Gustafson, Wilhelm Hopmann, Harry D. Huskey, Friedrich W. Kistermann, Thomas Lange, Michael S. Mahoney, R. B. E. Napper, Seiichi Okoma, Hartmut Petzold, Raul Rojas, Anthony E. Sale, Robert W. Seidel, Ambros P. Speiser, Frank H. Sumner, James F. Tau, Jan Van der Spiegel, Eiiti Wada, Michael R. Williams."

  

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Contents

Some Remarks on the First Generation of Computers
1
The Structures of Computation
17
The Challenge of HighTech Artifacts
33
A Classification Scheme for Program Controlled Calculators
53
Hardware Components and Computer Design
69
Reconstruction of the AtanasoffBerry Computer
91
Howard Aiken and the Dawn of the Computer Age
107
History Operation and Reconstruction in VLSI
121
The Plankalkul of Konrad Zuse Revisited
277
The G1 and the Gottingen Family of Digital Computers
295
Konrad Zuse and Industrial Manufacturing of Electronic Computers in Germany
315
Helmut Hoelzer Inventor of the Electronic Analog Computer
323
The Colossus of Bletchley Park The German Cipher System
351
The Manchester Mark 1 Computers
365
Rebuilding the First Manchester Computer
379
The Atlas Computer
387

A Case Study in the Application of Concepts from the History of Technology
179
A Historian Looks at Computer Architecture 19451995
195
The DEHOMAG D11 Tabulator A Milestone in the History of Data Processing
221
The Architecture of Konrad Zuses Early Computing Machines
237
Architecture Programming and Modifications at the ETH Zurich
263
The EDSAC Simulator
397
The First Japanese Computers and Their Software Simulators
419
The Parametron Computer PC1 and Its Initial Input Routine
435
Index
453
Copyright

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About the author (2002)

Ulf Hashagen is affiliated with the Munich Center for the History and Science and Technology, Deutsches Museum.

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