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Library | Call Number | Material Type | Home Location | Status | Item Holds |
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Searching... | QA76.2.A35 C65 1999 | Adult Non-Fiction | Central Closed Stacks | Searching... | Searching... |

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### Summary

### Summary

Howard Hathaway Aiken (1900-1973) was a major figure of the early digital era. He is best known for his first machine, the IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator or Harvard Mark I, conceived in 1937 and put into operation in 1944. He also made contributions to the development of applications for the new machines and to the creation of a university curriculum for computer science.

### Author Notes

Born in Far Rockaway, New York, I. Bernard Cohen earned degrees from Harvard University. He holds the distinction of being the first person in the United States to earn a Ph.D. in the history of science. Later, Cohen established the History of Science Department at Harvard.

Cohen has received many fellowships and has won the George Sarton Medal, awarded by the History of Science Society. Cohen is an author and editor, known for his books about Sir Isaac Newton and Benjamin Franklin.

(Bowker Author Biography)

### Reviews 1

### Choice Review

Cohen's excellent book on Howard Aiken, together with its companion Makin' Numbers, reveals the tremendous contribution Aiken made to early computing at Harvard. The architecture (to use a modern term) of his enormous mechanical decimal machine, the Mark I, is largely attributable to Aiken, while the ingenious hardware was supplied by IBM Corporation. The success of this machine, with the attendant publicity, sparked the interest of others and led to the development of the computer industry. Aiken went on to construct another three machines of improved type and established a curriculum at Harvard that became a model for other computer science programs. Suitable for general readers and undergraduates through professionals. Fascinating and well written, Makin' Numbers also makes very enjoyable reading. This volume explains more about the mathematical techniques used to enable a purely mechanical computer to carry out complicated mathematical processes, and it relates the experiences of the first programmers, such as Grace Hopper and Richard Bloch, as they worked to understand and control their enormous machine. These excellent books will help to open the minds of students to alternative methods of solving problems. The reminiscences of the many people who worked with Aiken at Harvard give a picture of what it was like to work and study under his influence. Upper-division undergraduates through professionals. D. A. Dobbin Maine Maritime Academy

### Table of Contents

Preface | p. xi |

Acknowledgments | p. xv |

The Names "ASCC" and "Mark I" | p. xix |

1 Introduction to a Pioneer | p. 1 |

2 Early Life and Education | p. 9 |

3 A Harvard Graduate Student | p. 21 |

4 First Steps Toward a New Type of Calculating Machine | p. 33 |

5 An Unsuccessful Attempt to Get the Machine Built | p. 39 |

6 Seeking Support from IBM | p. 45 |

7 The Proposal for an Automatic Calculating Machine | p. 53 |

8 Aiken's Background in Computing and Knowledge of Babbage's Machines | p. 61 |

9 Planning and Beginning the Construction of the Machine | p. 73 |

10 How to Perform Multiplication and Division by Machine | p. 87 |

11 Construction of the Machine | p. 95 |

12 Installing the ASCC/Mark I in Cambridge and Transferring It to the Navy | p. 109 |

13 Aiken at the Naval Mine Warfare School | p. 115 |

14 The Dedication | p. 121 |

15 The Aftermath | p. 131 |

16 Some Features of Mark I | p. 147 |

17 Programming and Staffing, Wartime Operation, and the Implosion Computations | p. 159 |

18 The Mystery of the Number 23 | p. 169 |

19 Tables of Bessel Functions | p. 177 |

20 Aiken's Harvard Program in Computer Science | p. 185 |

21 Later Relations between Aiken and IBM | p. 197 |

22 Aiken at Harvard, 1945-1961 | p. 201 |

23 Life in the Comp Lab | p. 215 |

24 Retirement from Harvard | p. 227 |

25 Businessman and Consultant | p. 231 |

26 A Summing Up | p. 237 |

Appendixes | |

A The Harvard News Release | p. 249 |

B Aiken's Talk at the Dedication | p. 253 |

C Aiken's Memorandum Describing the Harvard Computation Laboratory | p. 263 |

D The Stored Program and the Binary Number System | p. 269 |

E Aiken's Three Later Machines | p. 275 |

F How Many Computers Are Needed? | p. 283 |

G The NSF Computer Tree | p. 295 |

H Who Invented the Computer? Was Mark I a Computer? | p. 297 |

I The Harvard Computation Laboratory during the 1950s | p. 305 |

Sources | p. 309 |

Index | p. 325 |