forwarded message from Reminder Service

From: John Conover <>
Subject: forwarded message from Reminder Service
Date: Thu, 15 Feb 1996 00:49:21 -0800

02/15   ENIAC demonstrated (1946)

Today is the 49'th anniversary of the demonstration of the ENIAC. The
ENIAC was the world's first working electronic computer, designed at
Princeton University, and used to predict the state equations of
Plutonium for the folks at Los Alamos who were doing nucleonics
research for weapons.

BTW, I will give a nice shiny new Cordoba to the first person that
knows what the first computer program did, (ie., the one


BTW, you lost your chance at the Cordoba. It was a Merge Sort, (and is
still used today in collation of large amounts of data-the sort
command in MSDOS works this way,) and was written by none other than
one J. Von Neumann, (the wife of Herman Goldstine, one of the
architects of the ENIAC, did the coding.) The ENIAC consisted of some
40 thousand vacuum tubes, and had 10K bytes of memory (code bloat was
invented much later by Microsoft-who holds the conceptual patent.)
The memory was made out of a peculiar kind of
electro/mechanical/acoustical shift register, that contained a tube
filled with mercury, with an electromechanical transducer at each end
of the tube-with the data recirculated, synchronously, from the output
transducer, back to the input transducer.  Thanks for sharing that,

For more information, see, (in LaTeX/BiBTeX database format:)

    address = "Princeton, New Jersey",
    author = "Herman H. Goldstine",
    publisher = "Princeton University Press",
    title = "The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann",
    year = 1980}
    address = "Cambridge, Massachusetts",
    author = "William Aspray",
    publisher = "MIT Press",
    title = "John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing",
    year = 1990}
    address = "Ames, Iowa",
    editor = "William Aspray",
    publisher = "Iowa State University Press",
    title = "Computing Before Computers",
    year = 1990}
    address = "New York, New York",
    author = "Andrew Hodges",
    publisher = "Simon & Schuster",
    title = "Alan Turing: The Enigma",
    year = 1983}
    address = "Cambridge, Massachusetts",
    author = "Charles & Ray Eames",
    publisher = "Harvard University Press",
    title = "A Computer Perspective",
    year = 1990}
    address = "Ann Arbor, Michigan",
    author = "Alice R. Burks and Arthur W. Burks",
    publisher = "University of Michigan Press",
    title = "The First Electronic Computer",
    year = 1992}


John Conover,,

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