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Author Williams, Samuel B.
Source ACM Digital Library
Content type Text
Publisher Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
File Format PDF
Copyright Year ©1954
Language English
Subject Domain (in DDC) Computer science, information & general works ♦ Data processing & computer science
Abstract As the Association for Computing Machinery enters a new phase of its existence, it seems befitting to review, briefly, the conditions in the computing field just prior to its organization and the events of the past six years of its life. Since its formation, in 1947, the Association has adhered to the originally established policy of informality. That is, meetings and discussions were encouraged and information was generally put out in mimeographed form and more formal publications were discouraged. The function of the organization was to maintain a mailing list of members paying only such dues as were necessary to cover the cost of printing or mimeographing and mailing. Such an organization served its purpose excellently, but times have changed.Prior to the formation of the Association, the automatic computing field, as such, hardly existed. Probably the first meeting of those interested in the field was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1945. The occasion was to introduce the differential analyzer, designed by Dr. Vannevar Bush and Dr. Samuel H. Caldwell, to the public. This machine is a refinement of the original machine built by Dr. Bush in 1925. The earlier machine served as a pattern for several machines which were in operation in 1945, including those at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, the Moore School of Electrical Engineering, the General Electric Company and in Manchester, England.It is interesting to note that, at the time of this first meeting, other analog type machines were in operation. Network analyzers were employed to simulate power distribution systems and aid in their study. None of these machines employed digital representation but represented the values in analog form, such as voltage, current or angular position. Digital computation was possible only by hand operated calculators or by some business machines. Although automatic digital computation by machinery was the goal Charles Babbage strove to reach, it was not until the Hollerith rotary counter was suggested in 1890 and the International Business Machines Corporation began producing machines employing such counters for accounting purposes in the period from 1903 to 1905, that such goal was reached. The automatic multiplying punch machine was not produced until 1931.Computation by means of telephone relays was first introduced in the Bell System Complex Computer, known as Model I, in 1939. The method of employing the relays was suggested by Dr. George R. Stibitz and the machine was designed by Samuel B. Williams. This was not a fully automatic machine. The complex quantities for a single
ISSN 00045411
Age Range 18 to 22 years ♦ above 22 year
Educational Use Research
Education Level UG and PG
Learning Resource Type Article
Publisher Date 1954-01-01
Publisher Place New York
e-ISSN 1557735X
Journal Journal of the ACM (JACM)
Volume Number 1
Issue Number 1
Page Count 3
Starting Page 1
Ending Page 3


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Source: ACM Digital Library