Who Invented the Computer?: The Legal Battle That Changed Computing History

Front Cover
Prometheus Books - Computers
0 Reviews
Foreword by Douglas R. Hofstadter, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of G÷del, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid...a very detailed, compelling, and comprehensive presentation...[Burks] makes this very dry material come alive, putting personalities behind the faces and providing supporting material that clearly demonstrates the trial verdict was correct...a very worthwhile read...Highly recommended. -Choice...this thorough treatment of an important subject is invaluable. -Publishers Weekly...worth reading...a valuable book because it will enable those interested in computer history to make up their own minds on the merits of the contenders in this complex controversy. -Mathematical ReviewsIn 1973, Federal District Judge Earl R. Larson issued a ruling in a patent case that was to have profound and long-lasting implications for the dawning computer revolution. Against all expectations, the judge ruled against Sperry Rand Corp., which claimed to hold the patent on the first computer dubbed the ˘ENIAC÷ and was demanding huge royalties on all electronic data processing sales by Honeywell Inc. and other large competitors. The judge came to the conclusion that in fact the ENIAC was not the first computer but was a derivative of an obscure computer called the ABC, which had been developed in the late thirties by a largely unknown professor of physics and mathematics at Iowa State University, named John V. Atanasoff.Looking back today from our digital world at what was then a little-publicized trial, it is clear that the judge's decision had enormous repercussions. If Judge Larson had ruled the other way, in favor of the patent claim, subsequent manufacturers of computing hardware would have had to obtain a license from Sperry Rand, and the course of computing history would likely have been very different from the galloping revolution we have all witnessed in the past three decades.This book centers on this crucial trial, arguing that Judge Larson correctly evaluated the facts and made the right decision, even though many in the computing community have never accepted Atanasoff as the legitimate inventor of the electronic computer. With meticulous research, Alice Rowe Burks examines both the trial and its aftermath, presenting telling evidence in convincing and absorbing fashion, and leaving no doubt about the actual originator of what has been called the greatest invention of the 20th century.Alice Rowe Burks (Ann Arbor, MI) is an author of both children's books and books and articles on the early history of electronic computers.
 

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

00b All Risepdf
15
01pdf
21
02pdf
51
03pdf
79
04pdf
119
05pdf
145
06pdf
191
07pdf
211
10pdf
297
11pdf
327
12pdf
369
13pdf
393
14 Chronologypdf
417
15 Notespdf
421
16 Bibliographypdf
439
17 Indexpdf
449

08pdf
247
09pdf
269

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author

Alice Rowe Burks (Ann Arbor, MI) is an author of both children's books and books and articles on the early history of electronic computers.

Bibliographic information