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  ENIAC
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Ismenio
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Re:ENIAC
« on: April 7, 2006, 05:20PM »
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Hi All!

And thanks for the post Tom and another nice entry to your weblog that I enjoyed reading.

Interestingly, here's a link with details for a project for an ENIAC emulator (on a chip)

http://www.ee.upenn.edu/~jan/eniacproj.html

Once I think I saw something that someone was doing online to have a ENIAC emulator that you could play with in your browser but I lost that link.

Best regards,

Ismenio
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Mike Watters
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Re:ENIAC
« Reply #1 on: April 2, 2006, 01:05AM »
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Tom

Here is at least one person who disagrees with you about ENIAC :-

http://www.acsa.net/a_computer_saved_the_world.htm

and Bernhard Drexler once mentioned here that Konrad Zuse was surely the true inventor of the electronic computer. I suppose it depends on your definition and I know too little about this to offer any opinion.

As Colossus remained classified until the late 1970s, and unheard of outside of those who worked with it at Bletchley Park, the history of the early computers had already been written without it.

I remember meeting a GPO architect at Bletchley Park at end of the 1970s. We discussed demolishing a dilapidated bunker like building and its replacement with a staff restaurant. Ten years later it became apparent to me that the building was the one that Colossus had been housed in and I had an unwitting part in the destruction of a piece of history. 

Since then books have been written and films made about the Code Breakers of Bletchley Park and a museum is now in operation there.

All the best
Mike
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Overtom
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Re:ENIAC
« Reply #2 on: April 2, 2006, 12:41AM »
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While reading the book about ENIAC alittle voice at the back of my mind kept repeating questions like: "Wasn't there someone by the name of Alan Turing involved in the invention of the computer?"

After I had read the book and written the article, I reeceived a message from Mike, who drew my attention to the following link:

    http://www.acsa.net/a_computer_saved_the_world.htm

And yes indeed there was British-made computer Colossus.

Colossus

The article describes that the hardware for this machine, which was completed in 1941 was made by Tommy Flowers. Why the author of this page emphasizes that Alan Turing played no part in the development of the computer may be open for discussion. Lots of Internet pages do mention the fact that Turing was a pioneer in computing before any real computers were ever made and mention the influence his ideas had on the development of computers and Colossus in particular.

Anyway, once more I got out the book Eniac from the bookcase and browsed the index. But disappointingly, I found no mention whatsoever of either Colossus or Turing!!

If any body else has additions to offer on any of these points, feel free!

But tomorrow I'm going to pay my first visit to Berlin and hope to be able to see the Ketterlings.

And of course, I hope to see y'all here in a week,

tom
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Re:ENIAC
« Reply #3 on: April 1, 2006, 02:37PM »
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Quote from: Chris on April  1, 2006, 12:32PM   
I also vaguely remember there was EDSAC, can't remember how it was different, sound like this was later?

Thanks and  best wishes

Chris

Well, the question about EDSAC is not very difficult to answer. Wikipedia is quite clear about EDSAC:

"EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) was an early British computer (one of the first computers to be created). The machine, having been inspired by John von Neumann's seminal EDVAC report, was constructed by Maurice Wilkes and his team at the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory in England."

And EDVAC was, of course, the successor of the ENIAC. But as you can read in my article, Von Neumann's part in the history of computers is often overrated.

By the way, speaking about computers in a more general way, today I found out something strange.

If you've ever thought about the workings of a chess computer program, you'll probably come up with the idea that the smaller your data, the faster your computer program will be because the more bits the computer has to move, the slower it becomes.

So when I started out to make a chess program in Java two years ago, I had this notion in mind when I decided to use bytes to represent the board and the chessmen. The int type was 32 bit, so that would definitely be too long for fast manipulation, wouldn't it?

Today I did what I should have done a long time ago: I tested whether bytes in Java are really manipulated faster than the int type.

Would you be surprised if I told you they were equally fast?

But in that case I would lie! The int type turned out to be MUCH FASTER than the byte type! The only solution I can think of is the following:

If bytes are manipulated in Java, they are first converted into int, then they're manipulated and finally converted back to byte again.

A lesson to be learned for all who consider writing a chess program in Java!

With flabbergasted regards,

tom
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Re:ENIAC
« Reply #4 on: April 1, 2006, 12:32PM »
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Hi Tom 

Thanks for this interesting post and link.

ENIAC is a blast from the past as I can remember learning about this in my computer studies lessons (together with paper tape & punched cards  ). I was struggling to remember what the acronym stood for and I didn't recognise the names either 

I also vaguely remember there was EDSAC, can't remember how it was different, sound like this was later?

Thanks and  best wishes


Chris
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ENIAC
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2006, 03:08PM »
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Do the names Mauchly and Eckert ring any bells to you?

I can't blame you if they don't. But they are the inventors of the electronic computer.

If you care to read about the invention, you may visit this page:

      http://overtom.nl/weblog/weblog.html

Their computer was named ENIAC. That name may sound familiar.

            ENIAC

Best regards,

tom
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