ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer

By Scott McCartney | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER FIVE

Five Times One Thousand

By February 1944, the ENIAC team had final wiring diagrams and blueprints done, and construction of complete panels was begun. Yet thoughts had already turned to the next machine. Eckert and Mauchly had realized the shortcomings and inefficiencies in ENIAC's first design but knew they had to go with it if the wartime project was ever to be completed rapidly enough to be of military use. Still, Eckert was composing memos for a more advanced computer. In January 1944, he had laid out a scheme for a bigger memory, one that could store a full "program" inside the computer and eliminate many of the switches, accumulators, and cabling in ENIAC.

Having been pinned down for months, Allied troops were now advancing in Italy, and preparations were under way for a major offensive in France. The Allies were slowly

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