Makin' Numbers: Howard Aiken and the Computer

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I. Bernard Cohen, Robert V Campbell, Gregory W. Welch, Robert V. D. Campbell
MIT Press, 1999 - Computers - 279 pages

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.

 

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Contents

Introducing Howard Aiken
1
The IBM ASCCHarvard Mark I
31
Constructing the IBM ASCC Harvard Mark I
65
Mark II an Improved Mark I
111
Aikens Alternative Number System
129
Aiken as a Teacher
143
Aikens Program in a Harvard Setting
163
Commander Aiken and My Favorite Computer
185
Reminiscences of the Boss
203
Aiken at Home 1973
219
Specifications ofAikens Four Machines
257
Aikens Doctoral Students and Their Dissertations
273
Copyright

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About the author (1999)

Born in Far Rockaway, New York, I. Bernard Cohen earned degrees from Harvard University. He holds the distinction of being the first person in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in the history of science. Later, Cohen established the History of Science Department at Harvard. Cohen has received many fellowships and has won the George Sarton Medal, awarded by the History of Science Society. Cohen is an author and editor, known for his books about Sir Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin.

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