ENIAC: One Of The First Computers

Two programmers work on the ENIAC. (U.S. Army Photo via Columbia University)

On this date in 1946, ENIAC, one of the first electronic computers was dedicated.

Here are some things you may not have known about it.

ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. It was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the U.S. Army’s Ballistic Research laboratory.

It was literally a computer. It could solve numerical problems, which were usually done by people, who were also called computers.

Design and construction began in 1943 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering under the codename “Project PX.” It was 1,000 times faster than electro-mechanical computers of the day, and 2,400 times after than a human.

ENIAC contained more than 17,000 vacuum tubes, 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and 5 million hand-soldered joints. It weighed 27 tons and occupied 1,800 square feet.

It used punched cards for input and output, and initially had no memory.

A group of six women were ENIAC’s original primary programmers. Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas and Ruth Lichterman were responsible for inputting programs and debugging problems by crawling inside the machine to find bad solder joints and bad tubes.

ENIAC was decommissioned in 1955.

Our question: What is the most used operating system today?


Today is Flag Day in Canada, Statehood Day in Serbia, and Total Defense Day in Singapore.

It’s unofficially National Gumdrop Day and National Hippo Day.

It’s the birthday of women’s rights activist Susan B. Anthony, who was born in 1820; explorer Ernest Shackleton, who was born in 1874; and comedian Chris Farley, who was born in 1964.

Because our topic happened before 1960, we’ll spin the wheel to pick a year at random.

This week in 1977, the top song in the U.S. was “Blinded By The Light” by Manfred Mann’s Earth Band.

The No. 1 movie was “Rocky,” while the novel “Trinity” by Leon Uris topped the New York Times Bestsellers list.

Before the break we asked: What is the most used operating system today?

Weekly question: In what city was UPS founded?

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