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Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the…
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Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer (original: 1999; edição: 1999)

de Scott McCartney

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240884,679 (3.86)2
The true father of the modern computer was not John von Neumann, as he is generally credited. That honor belongs to the two men, John Mauchly and Presper Eckert, who built the world's first programmable computer: the legendary ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). Mauchly and Eckert developed a revolutionary vision: to make electricity "think." Funded by the U.S. Army, the team they led constructed a behemoth weighing thirty tons with eighteen thousand vacuum tubes and miles of wiring that blazed a trail to the next generation of computers that quickly followed. Based on original interviews with surviving participants and the first study of Mauchly and Eckert's personal papers, ENIAC is a dramatic human story and a vital contribution to the history of technology that restores to the two inventors the legacy they deserve.… (mais)
Membro:ExportFrisian
Título:Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer
Autores:Scott McCartney
Informação:Walker & Company (1999), Edition: 0, Hardcover, 240 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Computing History

Detalhes da Obra

ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer de Scott McCartney (1999)

  1. 00
    Alan Turing's Automatic Computing Engine: The Master Codebreaker's Struggle to Build the Modern Computer de B. Jack Copeland (nillacat)
    nillacat: Well-researched and well-told histories of early computers and the fascinating people who designed and built them. Copeland's book is highly technical and includes first-hand accounts and papers.
  2. 00
    Turing's Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe de George Dyson (nillacat)
    nillacat: Well-researched and well-told histories of early computers and the fascinating people who designed and built them.
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Mostrando 1-5 de 8 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Well researched but much too short to be an interesting read - was hoping for something more in-depth. ( )
  TeaTimeCoder | Dec 23, 2020 |
I'm amazed at the continuity of geek culture: how similar the early days of EDVAC and UNIVAC were to the the dot com culture of hyperkinetic geeks working around the clock and fluffing business plans right and left.

I loved the description of Eckert perched precariously on a chair back interviewing some fellow for seven hours, inspired by the candidate's past projects to riff on about his own ideas. Eckert especially liked people with technical hobbies, since he supposed they would be most amenable to working on technical projects for his company around the clock. ( )
  nillacat | Jul 29, 2019 |
This work is about the world's first programmable, digital computer. It is a lively account about computer pioneers. The work deals more with the personalities in the foibles of computing invention along with the squabbles, both individual and legal, about its creation. As brilliant and innovative as the computer inventors were they lost out completely in the legal sphere and they turned out to be poor businessman as well. No doubt these difficulties have diminished the important role that the Philadelphia region played in the invention of the digital computer.

In the beginning of the volume they do a quick survey of early computing efforts and I think the text would have been supplemented well with some illustrations. Thereafter in the book there are pictures of important computer inventors and the machines themselves which are adequate.
  gmicksmith | Jan 15, 2017 |
The computer emerges from the fog of history without an origin. Ask anyone who invented the computer and few could say, and for good reason because it's complicated. Yet there is no doubt that the ENIAC was the first true computer in the sense of what we think a computer is. This is what we learn in Scott McCartney's 1999 book, that John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania invented the first computer. Unfortunately it is not true. There is almost no mention of the British computer at Bletchley Park called the Colossus which broke the German encryption machine, Enigma, the first run being in early 1944, more than a year before ENIAC started running..

How did McCartney get it so wrong? Well for one it makes for a good story about overlooked underdogs, and neatly solves the question "Who invented the computer?" with a name and a face. There is no doubt Mauchly and Eckert were pioneers and made major advancements and they deserve every credit given to them. Except inventors of the first computer. There are some other things in the book that seem suspect, like the word "computer" originated with ENIAC.

Scott McCartney is a good writer and tells a complex story but he overreaches in the end. I'm glad I read this as it provides a more intimate understanding of Mauchly and Eckert and what they achieved with ENIAC, but I'm still looking for a more comprehensive history. ( )
  Stbalbach | Aug 10, 2016 |
Inventions are invariably a tricky business. With very few exceptions, not many things sprang forth fully-formed from the minds of one (or two, or whatever) people. Even Isaac Newton reminded people of the ideas of those who came before him, when discussing his genius. This is not to diminish those inventors, but to point out that Ford didn't invent the automobile, Edison didn't invent the lightbulb, and if Bell was the first to crank out a telephone, it was by maybe a month. Tops.

The computer is no different. A number of different people were working in the space of electronic calculating machines, to various degrees of "electronic" and "actually having it work." The two main inventors of the ENIAC machine, Mauchley and Eckert, have been (in the author's view — I haven't read around enough to make a judgment, though Wikipedia backs him up) relegated both in terms of their invention itself (pre-empted by a "digital computer" called the ABC that could only do one operation and, by the way, never actually worked) as well as their role in it, as various collaborators and hangers-on strove to take the credit.

McCartney goes in for a deep dive, sourcing journals, interviews and various papers to restore the Digital Dyad (terrible name for a superhero team) to their rightful place in history. He traces them from their nerdy, tinkering roots through the creation of the ENIAC (and its voluminous red tape) through to the (understandably slightly bitter) ends of their lives. Eckert, for one, always hoped that history would prove to be a more fair arbiter of their role in computing history; this book is a good step in that direction. ( )
  thoughtbox | May 27, 2016 |
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The true father of the modern computer was not John von Neumann, as he is generally credited. That honor belongs to the two men, John Mauchly and Presper Eckert, who built the world's first programmable computer: the legendary ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). Mauchly and Eckert developed a revolutionary vision: to make electricity "think." Funded by the U.S. Army, the team they led constructed a behemoth weighing thirty tons with eighteen thousand vacuum tubes and miles of wiring that blazed a trail to the next generation of computers that quickly followed. Based on original interviews with surviving participants and the first study of Mauchly and Eckert's personal papers, ENIAC is a dramatic human story and a vital contribution to the history of technology that restores to the two inventors the legacy they deserve.

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