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Read & Download The Man Who Invented the Computer Ü PDF, DOC, TXT or eBook ✓ [Ebook] ➯ The Man Who Invented the Computer ➮ Jane Smiley – From one of our most acclaimed novelists a  David and Goliath biography for the digital ageOne night in the late 1930s in a bar on Almost certainly stole critical ideas from him But in a court declared that the patent on that Sperry Rand device was invalid opening the intellectual property gates to the computer revolution Jane Smiley tells the uintessentially American story of the child of immigrants Man Who Invented Epub #219 John Atanasoff with technical clarity and narrative drive making the race to develop digital computing as gripping as a real life techno thrill. This is an interesting book on a relevant timely and somewhat controversial subject Relevant because hardly anyone's life on Earth is unaffected by computers they handle communications control machinery perform intricate bookkeeping for banks and credit companies keep track of inventories store images and contents of books edge out printed newspapers and much Timely because relatively few computer users know what makes those machines tick or are aware of the amazing story of their beginnings they are still evolving And controversial we will come to that too Their arrival was rather unexpected even HG Wells never included them in any future scenario in his sci fi books of the first half of the 1900s The full story would be too much for any ordinary book or for any ordinary reader so Jane Smiley wisely focuses just on early developments when inspired individuals introduced basic principles and constructed rudimentary hardware before solid state electronics gave computers mind boggling versatility speed and complexity The main thread here is the life and career of John Atanasoff physicist at the Iowa State College later University in Ames Together with Clifford Berry he designed and built there at the end of the 1930s the Atanasoff Berry Computer ABC the world's first electronic computer using vacuum tubes a storage drum of electric capacitors and an output encoded on charred computer cards Those output cards by the way missed about one in 100000 signals which sounds excellent but is unacceptably high Shades of hanging chads uite a few other individuals contributed to early progress Alan Turing in England formulated the basic theory Konrad Zuse in Germany devised computers with interlocking bars and telephone relays Johnny Von Neumann further developed the basic concepts and made them widely known Tommy Flowers also in England led the design of the Collosus computer that broke German codes during WW II John Mauchly and Presper Eckert produced ENIAC Howard Aitken created Mark I at IBM and others Venues were as diverse as the secret British facilities at Bletchley Park and Dollis hill the Moore college of Engineering in Philadelphia a barn in the Austrian village of Hinterstein and a Minneapolis courtroom All modern computers are based on the mathematical manipulation and storage of numbers generally encoded in base 2 Such a binary code using only numerals 1 and 0 is the simplest way of representing whole numbers; the limited notation can make encoded numbers uite long but that is a minor problem compared to working with additional digits as ENIAC did interestingly the genetic code uses base 4 very close to binary This book includes appendices that try to explain binary math to average readers and the kind of calculations which became feasible with the new tools Lay readers following Smiley's mathematical sampler may need interest and ability in visualizing complex abstractions All these principles can be implemented in various ways telephone relays developed for rotary dials were uite reliable but vacuum tubes were much faster and transistors much durable and compact Nowadays microscopic transistor circuits deposited and etched on silicon chips have all those virtues use power sparingly and are blazingly fast The basic ideas however date back to the early testbed computers They were slow and hampered by unreliable hardware and unrefined software but theirs is the most interesting part of the story highlighted here A special challenge was the storage of inputs outputs and intermediate results punched cards and tapes input plugboards charred dots on cards sound waves bouncing back and forth in a tube filled with mercury electron beams inside early video tubes none of these lasted long but they all bear testimony to ingenuity If one thing is missing in this book it is a better insight into the personal life of John Atanasoff supremely inventive and systematic yet also somewhat self effacing One would have liked to know him better indeed to get better understanding of many of the personalities named above However we are too late now The final drama played out in 1973 in a courtroom in Minneapolis where the Honeywell corporation claiming that Atanaoff was the original inventor of the foundations of the later ENIAC contested a 1964 patent given to Mauchly and Eckert By then computers had evolved and had entered wide use so the uestion was less of royalties none of the inventors got rich than of prestige After extensive testimony the court awarded the priority to Atanasoff; the controversy ought to have ended there but as the last chapter makes clear it did not and hard feelings persisted Before I opened this book I had read about the early history of computers in a delightful book with many color illustrations published in 1984 by Stan Augarten and titled Bit by Bit If you can find a copy by all means read it It presents a wider history than this one from early mechanical calculators to the Apple computer But on one point it may be uestioned after telling the story of the first Iowa computer the book notes that Atanasoff after leaving Iowa State in 1942 lost all interest in computers That is not at all what one reads here; one just gets the feeling that Atanasoff was overtaken by a larger effort with generous funding organized by those who appropriated his ideas The Iowa school was supposed to apply for a patent after Atanasoff left for the war effort but neglected to do so Read both books and judge for yourself I looked up the com web site where both books are offered for sale Bit by Bit through dealers in used books together with comments by readers and their evaluations rated from one star to five Interestingly Bit by Bit is uniformly and deservedly rated with five stars while with The Man who Invented the Computer half the reviews including one by a John Mauchly award just one star the lowest rating There must be some explanation for those skewed ratings and one wonders what it might be If only the two books could somehow be merged

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From one of our most acclaimed novelists a  Who Invented PDFEPUB #228 David and Goliath biography for the digital ageOne night in the late s in a bar on the Illinois–Iowa border John Vincent Atanasoff a professor of physics at Iowa State University after a frustrating day performing tedious mathematical calculations in his lab hit on the idea that the binary number system and electronic switches com­bined with an array of capacitors on. An interesting look at the various characters involved in the invention of the computer Whether John Vincent Atanasoff truly invented the computer or not is still a controversial subject among some circles but there is no doubt that Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry invented a computing machine while Atanasoff was a physics professor at Iowa State University then Iowa State College in 1939 The device was created specifically to solve differential euations to aid Atanasoff in solving physics problems that were incredibly laborious and time consuming to work using traditional methods of the day The Atanasoff Berry Computer ABC as it came to be known was shown to work on multiple occasions and in the 1973 decision of a patent case that determined the origins of the first digital electronic computer the judge decided that the ABC which predated the ENIAC computer was in fact the first and some of its pioneering concepts were incorporated into the ENIAC by John Mauchly who visited Atanasoff in Ames IA to see the ABC before starting work on the ENIAC and J Presper EckertAs an alum of Iowa State University and its Computer Science department which is based out of a building named after Atanasoff I am of course supportive of the patent decision What I found most interesting about Smiley's book was that while it centers around Atanasoff's work she weaves in the tales of other significant individuals who contributed significantly to the invention of the computer including Mauchly and Eckert Konrad Zuse who basically invented his own computing machine in his parents' basement while isolated in Germany before and during WWII and Alan Turing and Johnny Flowers who worked on code breaking machines at Bletchley Park in England that were critical to the Allied victoryHaving just heard Jane Smiley talk about this book during a return visit to Iowa State University last night I particularly liked her characterization of John Mauchly not as a thief or villain but as a conduit who helped get Atanasoff's groundbreaking ideas out of the somewhat isolated land grant university in the middle of Iowa to the commercial world where the power of capitalism and availability of resources to fight the war helped propel the innovation further and further to the point where the phone in my pocket can now solve Atanasoff's physics problems a million times faster than the ABC and without punch cardsOverall I enjoyed this book a lot and it has piued my interest to read other accounts and biographies of all the significant individuals involved in the origin of the computer I would have given 4 stars but the writing seemed a bit disjointed at times and glossed over aspects that I would have liked to see explored in detail

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The Man Who Invented the ComputerA moving drum to serve as memory could yield a computing machine that would make his life and the lives of other similarly burdened scientists easier The Man MOBI #221 Then he went back and built the machine It worked The whole world changed Why don’t we know the name of John Atanasoff as well as we know those of Alan Turing and John von Neumann Because he never patented the device and because the developers of the far better known ENIAC. The history of computing is one of my favourite topics While I had heard about Atanasoff and his ABC computer before and even that it was judged to be the first computer in a legal case I never knew the details of either This book does a good job of covering both the ABC and the early years of modern computingDespite the book's name Smiley realizes that one person did not invent the computer What we think of as a modern computer is a broad collection of ideas including high speed random access memory secondary storage eg disk programmability and of course accurate and high speed computationWhile these ideas might seem obvious today in the 1940s they not only had to be discovered for the first time but also reliable and efficient implementations had to be found Most early computers up to and including ENIAC did not implement them all and so are not really modern computers The ABC for instance only solved systems of linear euations It could not be programmed to do anything else To call the ABC the first computer is not satisfying since programmability is one of the key elements of a modern computerSmiley understands this and so spends time discussing the ideas and accomplishments of other computer researchers of the day The invention of the computer was a group effort that combined both theoretical and practical ideas from many people Atanasoff was probably the first to implement a few of them but he didn't implement them all and may not have grasped the idea of a computer being a universal machine that could be programmed to do any computation Konrad Zuse may be a better candidate for the title inventor of the computer since he implemented the first Turing complete electronic computer machine in 1941The book ends with a discussion of John von Neumann Von Neumann is linked to the invention of the computer thanks to his name being the only one on the draft report of the EDVAC The report was a team effort but von Neumann was the rock star one of the greatest mathematicians of the century even ignoring his work on computation He also had military and political connections and so ultimately got credit than he probably deserved Yet he was a fascinating and important figure and much of the work he later did on his own computer project was also important While it can be said that he definitely did not invent the computer he did help popularize it and had a hand in designing some of its basic components He also understood the importance of Alan Turing's theoretical work that put the instructions for controlling a computer into its memory along with all the other data