Fascinating facts about John Vincent Atanasoff inventor of the electronic
digital computer in 1939...
AT A GLANCE:
In 1939, John Vincent Atanasoff
developed the Atanasoff Berry Computer (ABC) with Clifford Berry. The
ABC used binary math to solve differential equations. The ABC had no
central processing unit (CPU), but it did employ vaccuum tubes and other
components similar to those used in later electronic computers.
DID YOU KNOW?
||John Vincent Atanasoff
||October 4, 1903 in Hamilton, New York
||June 15, 1995 in Frederick, Maryland
||American (of Bulgarian
Atanasoff-Berry Computer in 1939
named after its inventors
was instrumental in the development of the electronic digital
declares that the ENIAC is a copy of the ABC computer
1903 Born October 4, 1903 in Hamilton, New York
1939 Atanasoff developed the Atanasoff Berry Computer (ABC) with
1973 U.S. Court declares that the ENIAC computer is a copy of the ABC
1995 Died June 15, 1995 in Frederick, Maryland
CAPs: Atanasoff, John Vincent Atanasoff, ABC Computer, Atanasoff Berry
Computer, Clifford Berry, ENIAC, John Mauchly, J Presper Eckert, ARYS,
computer, history, biography, inventor, ABC computer, electronic digital
computer, SIPS: inventor of, history of, who
invented, invention of, fascinating facts.
In 1925, Atanasoff received his Bachelor of Science
degree in electrical engineering from the University of Florida. He held the
distinction of receiving this grade with straight A's as an undergraduate.
He continued his education at Iowa State College and in 1926 earned a
master's degree in mathematics. He completed his formal education in 1930 by
earning a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Wisconsin with
his thesis, The Dielectric Constant of Helium.
Upon completion of his doctorate, Atanasoff accepted an assistant
professorship at Iowa State College in mathematics and physics. At Iowa,
Atanasoff was interested in a method by which many computations could be
made in a robust manner. Atanasoff's interest in this topic was reportedly
developed in responce to the inadequate computation aids available to him
while he was writing his doctoral thesis, a computationally-intensive paper.
To this end, in 1939 he developed the Atanasoff Berry Computer (ABC) with
Clifford Berry. The ABC used binary math to solve differential equations.
The ABC had no central processing unit (CPU), but it did employ vaccuum
tubes and other components similar to those used in later electronic
In 1941 John Mauchly came to visit Atanasoff in Iowa to see the ABC. John
Mauchly's construction of ENIAC, the first Turing-complete computer, with J.
Presper Eckert in the mid 1940s has has led to controversy over who was the
actual inventor of the computer. This controversy was partially resolved on
October 19, 1973, when U.S. District Judge Earl R. Larson overturned the
patent of the ENIAC held by Mauchly and Eckert ruling that the ENIAC derived
many basic ideas from the Atanasoff Berry Computer. While a legal victory,
Atanasoff's victory was incomplete as the ENIAC, rather than the ABC, is
still widely regarded as the first computer.
In 1970, Atanasoff was invited to Bulgaria by the Bulgarian Academy of
Sciences, so the Bulgarian Government could confer upon him the Cyrille and
Methodius Order of Merit First Class. Having always emphasized his Bulgarian
roots, he was very proud that Bulgaria was the first country to recognize
his work. In 1981, he received the Computer Pioneer Medal from the Institute
of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Finally, in 1990, President
George H. W. Bush awarded Atanasoff the United States National Medal of
History of Computing from The Great Idea Finder
ON THE BOOKSHELF:
That Shaped World History
by Bill Yenne, Morton, Dr. Grosser (Editor) / Paperback - 112 pages / Bluewood Books
This book contains inventions from all around the world from microchips to fire. This is a
really good book if you are going to do research on inventions.
American Computer Pioneers
by Mary Northrup / Library Binding - 112 pages / Enslow Publishers,
Inc. (July 1998)
This entry in the Collective Biographies series covers major players in the development of
the computer, from Herman Hollerith, the inventor of punch cards, through the inventors of
ENIAC and UNIVAC, as well as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Marc Andreessen of Netscape.
Atanasoff: Forgotten Father of the Computer
by Clark R. Mollenhoff / Hardcover: 274 pages / Iowa State Pr; Reprint
edition (May 1, 1988)
Atanasoff accepted an assistant professorship at Iowa
State College in mathematics and physics. At Iowa, Atanasoff was interested
in a method by which many computations could be made in a robust manner.
Exploring the Computer Age
by Jon Palfreman, Doron Swade / Paperback / Bbc Pubns (October 1993)
The Dream Machine provides a plethora of information to the reader. It gives specific
detials of the
evolution of the computer. Including: many people, companies (IBM, Remington Rand), the
languages of programming, the personal computer and more.
ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer
by Scott McCartney / Hardcover - 262 pages / Walker & Co
Eckert and Mauchly later lost the patent on their machine
when it was claimed that another early experimenter, John Atanasoff, had given them all
the ideas about ENIAC that mattered.
The First Electronic Computer: The Atanasoff Story
by Alice R. Burks, Arthur W. Burks / Paperback: 400 pages / Univ of Michigan Pr (October
This book traces the ENIAC lineage directly to the ABC and J.V.Atansoff. If there are any
Atanasoff skeptics out there, this book is the definitive prescription to win their minds.
ON THE WEB:
The Man Who
In the relatively short span of time that has elapsed since the world's
first electronic digital computer was invented in 1939, computers have
become universal tools that are an integral part of modern life.
John Atanasoff Biography
It was recognized early that John Atanasoff had both a passion and talent
for mathematics. His youthful interest in baseball was quickly forgotten
once his father showed him the logarithmic slide rule he had bought for
facilitating engineering calculations.
The Birth of the Computer
It was built by John Vincent Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State
University during 1937-42. It incorporated several major innovations in
computing including the use of binary arithmetic, regenerative memory,
parallel processing, and separation of memory and computing functions.
John V. Atanasoff: Obituary
John V. Atanasoff, 91, who invented the first electronic computer in 1939
and later saw others take credit for his discovery, died of a stroke June
15, 1995 at his home in Monrovia, Md.
Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry built a prototype ABC
(Atanasoff-Berry Computer) in 1939, and a full-scale model in 1942. Like the
Bell Labs Model I, the ABC was not a computer in the modern sense, since it
lacked program control and was not general purpose.
Atanasoff Berry Computer
It is sometimes referred to by its initials, ABC. The Atanasoff-Berry
Computer, constructed in the basement of the Physics building at Iowa State
University, took over two years to complete. It was first demonstrated in
November of 1939. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
DID YOU KNOW?
- In 1973, U.S. District Judge Earl R. Larson overturned
the patent of the ENIAC held by Mauchly and Eckert ruling that the
ENIAC derived many basic ideas from the Atanasoff Berry Computer.
While a legal victory, Atanasoff's victory was incomplete as the
ENIAC, rather than the ABC, is still widely regarded as the first
trademarks and brands are the property of their respective owners.
Sources in BOLD Type.
page revised May 3, 2006.
Berners-Lee's invention has revolutionized the world like nothing
The invention of the Internet,
should be classed with the greatest events of the 20th Century.
The Aero Sport All-Terrain Bed
with Dual Power Pump is the perfect addition to any camping trip or weekend
book, is the perfect desktop reference for both the science novice and the
technologically advanced reader alike.
CELEBRATE WITH US
Help us improve!