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Eniac: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Scott McCartney
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  • Gebundene Ausgabe: 262 Seiten
  • Verlag: Walker Books; Auflage: First Printing (Juni 1999)
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0802713483
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802713483
  • Größe und/oder Gewicht: 19,6 x 14,5 x 2,8 cm
  • Durchschnittliche Kundenbewertung: 3.7 von 5 Sternen  Alle Rezensionen anzeigen (29 Kundenrezensionen)
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: Nr. 708.218 in Fremdsprachige Bücher (Siehe Top 100 in Fremdsprachige Bücher)
  • Komplettes Inhaltsverzeichnis ansehen

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Today's computers are fantastically complex machines, shaped by innovations dreamt up by hundreds of engineers and theorists over the last several decades. Does it even make sense, then, to ask who invented the computer? McCartney thinks so, and in ENIAC: The Triumphs and Tragedies of the World's First Computer, he's written a compelling answer to the question, crediting two relatively unsung Pennsylvanians with what is arguably the most significant invention of the century.

McCartney's heroes are Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, and as he makes clear, there are those who might question the choice. Nobody doubts the pair designed and built ENIAC, the world's first fully electronic computer and a watershed in the history of computing. But for years the importance of their contribution, made during World War II and sponsored by the U.S. Army, has been downplayed. The brilliant John von Neumann's subsequent theoretical papers on computer design have made him the traditional "father of modern computing." And Eckert and Mauchly later even 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.

But McCartney's meticulously researched narrative of Eckert and Mauchly's careers--covering the thrilling three years of ENIAC's construction and the frustrating decades of little recognition that followed--sets the record straight. He carefully weighs Atanasoff's claims and gives von Neumann the credit he earned for advancing computer science, but in the end he leaves no room for doubt: if anyone deserves to be remembered for inventing the computer, it's the two men whose tale he has told here so engagingly. --Julian Dibbell


Presents a history of the world's first programmable computer, ENIAC, and its creators, a team funded by the U.S. Army and led by John Mauchly and Presper Eckert.

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1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen The true history of a computer 22. April 2011
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
It is hard to imagine today, when there is literally a computer in each pocket in a form of a smartphone, that digital computers are a relatively recent development in the course of human history. They have more than anything else in the past fifty years changed the way we live and communicate with each other, the way we entertain ourselves, and have touched almost every aspect of our lives in ways that we have increasingly come to take for granted. And yet it is ironic that almost no one would be able to tell you who invented the computer. This is in a marked contrast with many other technological inventions that have changed the modern civilization. Almost any kid could tell you who invented the steam engine, the cotton gin, the automobile, the telephone, the airplane, the light bulb or the radio. For better or for worse, all of those inventions have particular name or two associated with them. Unfortunately, because of the series of historical misfortunes, the true inventors of the first functioning digital computer ENIAC are hardly household names. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly were the minds behind this WWII seminal effort, and even had the patent to the computer to their credit for a while, but due to a series of historic misfortunes and legal wrangling lost that piece of prestige.

This book goes a long way towards righting that wrong. It is well researched and replete with details of the effort that led to the construction of ENIAC, with many interesting and amusing anecdotes. It paints a very humane and sympathetic picture of Eckert and Mauchly, all with their characteristic human foibles and weaknesses. And yet, Scott McCartney is not entirely opposed to the fact that no single individual ultimately benefited from the invention of the computer.
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1.0 von 5 Sternen Lies, lies and more lies. 11. April 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
When I saw this book on the shelf and read the title I could not quite believe it so I turned to the publishing date and saw it was recent. I then read the credits and index to see if I could find anything resembling Turing, Bletchley Park, Station X etc. - nothing. This is thus a shameful book. Eniac was not the first computer. That honour belongs to Colossus, a machine designed and built by Tommy Flowers of the GPO labs, Dollis Hill in North-west London. This machine was used to decode "Fish" the high-speed teleprinter code used between Hitler and his generals. This was an automatic successor to the already-cracked manual "Enigma" code. Design of Colossus began in February 1943 and the first machine was operating that December. This is of course just the latest in a succession of American thefts of other's honours. Hollywood recently stole the honour for the recovery of the naval Enigma cipher key "Shark" from a sinking submarine, showing the world how brave were the Americans who pulled off the success. In fact these codes were recovered from U-559 by Lt Anthony Fasson, AB Colin Grazier and Naafi boy Tommy Brown of HMS Petard. Fasson and Grazier went down with the submarine. Come on America, this is unworthy. There must be several things that you actually did first and it is time you stopped stealing other peoples glory. Nobody is impressed and it makes you look dirty.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Interesting account of computer beginnings 8. Mai 2000
Von Ein Kunde
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Enjoyable if not terribly well-written volume on the oft-forgotten origins of the computer. I think the book would have been stronger had it been more technical, more about historical origins (e.g., Babbage, etc.) & less about the business gossip surrounding these two fellows. Not that that was uninteresting, it just didn't leave me with anything at the endo
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Great Book - Some are missing the point 2. Mai 2000
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I read this book back before Christmas, and thought it was excellent. I teach computer courses with historical computer content. Some that have reviewed this book have pouted that Colossus or the ABC computer should get the title of first computer, but this is a flawed argument. The above two computers were electro-mechnical creation, while ENIAC was full electronic. The FIRST full electronic computer in fact. It was a milestone, and those that try to steal this honor from Eckert and Mauchley are wrong in doing so. This book shows how these two inventors were innovative, and how later they had their innovation stolen. This book clearly and concisely sets the record straight. Excellent treatment of the story.
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4.0 von 5 Sternen ENIAC - S. McCartney does a fine job 30. Dezember 1999
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
Scott McCartney has written an excellent counterbalance to the current literature on the invention of the computer. It is a fine contrast to Herman Goldstine's book on the subject. Here, we see a johnny-come-lately view of the great mathematician John von Neumann, a man whose profound insight into the future value of an all-electronic calculating machine gives him the shared title of inventor of computer science (along with A. Turing), not the computer. This book leaves us no doubt, it was Eckert and Mauchly's creation, a plum that many others wanted credit for once it matured. The general purpose electronic computer is fittingly the invention of an electrical engineer (Eckert) and a visionary physicist (Mauchly). This is also a good resource on the entry by women into the world of computers. I was only disappointed that McCartney did not include a bit more of the technical, engineering details about ENIAC, and its comparison to the COLOSSUS, perhaps in an appendix.
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Disappointing... could have been a magazine article
This should have been a long magazine article, not a $23 book. That's not to say the topic, the creation/invention of the first computer, isn't deserving of a historical,... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 18. Dezember 1999 von Tyler Green
4.0 von 5 Sternen First Computer?
Ok, heres the deal. Calling ENIAC the first digital computer is not a fair statement. You could call the Attonasoff-Beffy Computer(ABC) the fist digital computer or Colossus the... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 11. Dezember 1999 von Shannon Patrick Ramos
5.0 von 5 Sternen Inventors of the computer get credit at last.
This superb story of the invention of the world's first computer gives appropriate credit to two brilliant but naive researchers. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 30. November 1999 von history buff
5.0 von 5 Sternen Author got it right
In the late 1980s I edited a feature magazine on the history of computing for Computerworld newspaper, and we concluded as the author of ENIAC does--that Eckert and Mauchly deserve... Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 24. November 1999 von
4.0 von 5 Sternen What about Collosus?
I haven't read this book so can't review it. However, it appears the book may have been written before the cryptanalysis done at Bletchley Park was declassified. Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 17. November 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Exciting; as riveting as the best fiction.
Eniac is exciting; as riveting as the best fiction. What this book shines at is telling the story of people. Lesen Sie weiter...
Veröffentlicht am 9. November 1999 von John P. Callan
5.0 von 5 Sternen not too long, really fabulous historical account
Anybody who has taken an introductory computer science course has heard about how Mauchly and Eckert built ENIAC, the first electronic computer, which was originally intended to... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 1. November 1999 veröffentlicht
5.0 von 5 Sternen Well written account
From the other reviews of this book you get the impression the author got the basic facts wrong. I think the author did an outstanding job writing the story of the ENIAC, and... Lesen Sie weiter...
Am 19. September 1999 veröffentlicht
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