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John Presper Eckert

April 9, 1919 Philadelphia
1995 Bryn Mawr, USA

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Achievement

Co-inventor of the first fully electronical digital computer


Biography

At the university of Pennsylvenia Eckert and the late John. W. Mauchly created ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). A 30 ton leviathan that contained less computational power than a single one of today's tiny silicon chips. Designed to figure trajectories for world war II atillery, ENIAC was 1000 times as fast as contemporary calculators , and became an invaluable tool for scientist working to build the first atom bomb. After selling their business in 1950 to Sperry Rand Corp, now Unisys, the partners continued to advance in their field. Eckert was awarded a National Science Medal in 1968.


Chronology

J. Presper Eckert was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. He was a researcher at the Moore School of the University of Pennsylvania when he began working with John W Mauchly on ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer) in 1943. When they completed ENIAC, in 1946, it had 500 000 hand soldered connections and used punched cards to store data. ENIAC was used by the U.S. Army for military calculations.

In 1946 Eckert and Mauchly started a business partnership that become the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. In 1949 Eckert and Mauchly launched BINAC (Binary Automatic Computer) which used magnetic tape to store data.programming, theoretical

In 1950 the Remington Rand Corporation acquired the Eckert-Mauchly company and changed the name to the Univac Division of Remington Rand. Later research resulted in UNIVAC1 (Universal Automatic Computer), a computer containing many of the elements of today's machines.

In 1955 Remington Rand merged with the Sperry Corporation to form Sperry Rand. Eckert remained with the company and became an executive. He continued with the company as it merged with the Burroughs Corporation to become Unisys. In 1989 Eckert retired from Unisys but continued to act as a consultant for the company.

Between 1948 and 1966 Eckert took out patents on 85 inventions, almost all electronic in nature. He received many awards for his pioneering work on computers, perhaps the most prestigious being the US National Medal of Science in 1969. Both Eckert and Mauchly received the IEEE Computer Society Pioneer Award in 1980.

He died of leukemia in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvenia, USA

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text:
partial time magazine august 1995 p 15


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