Cover image for The computer from Pascal to von Neumann
The computer from Pascal to von Neumann
Goldstine, Herman H. (Herman Heine), 1913-2004.
Publication Information:
[Princeton, N.J.] : Princeton University Press [1972]
Physical Description:
x, 378 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Subject Term:
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Central Library TK7885.A5 G64 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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In 1942, Lt. Herman H. Goldstine, a former mathematics professor, was stationed at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania. It was there that he assisted in the creation of the ENIAC, the first electronic digital computer. The ENIAC was operational in 1945, but plans for a new computer were already underway. The principal source of ideas for the new computer was John von Neumann, who became Goldstine's chief collaborator. Together they developed EDVAC, successor to ENIAC. After World War II, at the Institute for Advanced Study, they built what was to become the prototype of the present-day computer. Herman Goldstine writes as both historian and scientist in this first examination of the development of computing machinery, from the seventeenth century through the early 1950s. His personal involvement lends a special authenticity to his narrative, as he sprinkles anecdotes and stories liberally through his text.

Author Notes

Herman H. Goldstine is presently Executive Officer of the American Philosophical Society

Table of Contents

Preface (1993)p. ix
Prefacep. xi
Part 1 The Historical Background up to World War IIp. 1
1. Beginningsp. 3
2. Charles Babbage and His Analytical Enginep. 10
3. The Astronomical Ephemerisp. 27
4. The Universities: Maxwell and Boolep. 31
5. Integrators and Planimetersp. 39
6. Michelson, Fourier Coefficients, and the Gibbs Phenomenonp. 52
7. Boolean Algebra: x[superscript 2] = xx = xp. 60
8. Billings, Hollerith, and the Censusp. 65
9. Ballistics and the Rise of the Great Mathematiciansp. 72
10. Bush's Differential Analyzer and Other Analog Devicesp. 84
11. Adaptation to Scientific Needsp. 106
12. Renascence and Triumph of Digital Means of Computationp. 115
Part 2 Wartime Developments: ENIAC and EDVACp. 121
1. Electronic Efforts prior to the ENIACp. 123
2. The Ballistic Research Laboratoryp. 127
3. Differences between Analog and Digital Machinesp. 140
4. Beginnings of the ENIACp. 148
5. The ENIAC as a Mathematical Instrumentp. 157
6. John von Neumann and the Computerp. 167
7. Beyond the ENIACp. 184
8. The Structure of the EDVACp. 204
9. The Spread of Ideasp. 211
10. First Calculations on the ENIACp. 225
Part 3 Post-World War II: The von Neumann Machine and The Institute for Advanced Studyp. 237
1. Post-EDVAC Daysp. 239
2. The Institute for Advanced Study Computerp. 252
3. Automata Theory and Logic Machinesp. 271
4. Numerical Mathematicsp. 286
5. Numerical Meteorologyp. 300
6. Engineering Activities and Achievementsp. 306
7. The Computer and UNESCOp. 321
8. The Early Industrial Scenep. 325
9. Programming Languagesp. 333
10. Conclusionsp. 342
Appendix World-Wide Developmentsp. 349
Indexp. 363

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