If you'd like to read the entire interview, go here.
From ENIAC to Everyone
Talking with J. Presper Eckert
by Alexander Randall 5th
Published on KurzweilAI.net February 23, 2006.
There are two epochs in computer history: Before ENIAC and After ENIAC. The first practical, all-electronic computer was unveiled on February 13, 1946 at the Univ. of Pennsylvania's Moore School of Electronics. While there are controversies over who invented what, there is universal agreement that the ENIAC was the watershed project that showed electronic computing was possible. It was a masterpiece of electrical engineering, with unprecedented reliability and speed. And the two men most responsible for its success were J. Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly.
ENIAC, which debuted 60 years ago, had 18,000 vacuum tubes.
Randall: Was ENIAC programmable?
Eckert: Yes and no. We programmed the machine by plugging wires in from place to place. That's not hard-wired, it is not software, it is not memory. It's pluggable programming. And we had switches to set the functions.
Randall: What was the first thing you did with ENIAC?
Eckert: It was designed to calculate trajectory tables, but it came too late to really help with the war effort. The first real use was Edward Teller using ENIAC to do calculations for the Hydrogen bomb.
Randall: What's the zaniest thing you did while developing ENIAC?
Eckert: The mouse cage was pretty funny. We knew mice would eat the insulation off the wires, so we got samples of all the wires that were available and put them in a cage with a bunch of mice to see which insulation they did not like. We only used wire that passed the mouse test.
So I guess the first computer mouse really was a mouse !
So that's how far we've come in the past 60 years. What do you think computers will be like 60 years from today?
UPDATE: (Monday, 3/20/20066:15 am)
Here are some pics of NASA's new supercomputer "Columbia"
There are more photos & info. here
| SGI ALTIX - COLUMBIA SUPERCOMPUTER|