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Makin' Numbers: Howard Aiken and the Computer

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Overview

This collection of technical essays and reminiscences is a companion to I. Bernard Cohen's biography, Howard Aiken: Portrait of a Computer Pioneer see p. 19. After an overview by Cohen, Part I presents the first complete publication of Aiken's 1937 proposal for an automatic calculating machine, later realized as the Mark I, as well as recollections by the chief engineer in charge of construction of Mark II, Robert Campbell, and the principal programmer of Mark I, Richard Bloch. Henry Tropp describes Aiken's hostility to the exclusive use of binary numbers in computational systems and his alternative approach.

Part II contains essays by former students Frederick Brooks and Peter Calingaert and by Gregory Welch. Part III contains recollections by people who worked or studied with Aiken, including Richard Bloch, Grace Hopper, Anthony Oettinger, and Maurice Wilkes, and excerpts from an interview conducted just before Aiken's death. Part IV gathers the most significant of Aiken's own writings. The appendixes give the specs of Aiken's machines and list his doctoral students and the topics of their dissertations.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262032636
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 6/4/1999
  • Series: History of Computing Series
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.32 (w) x 9.24 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction
The Name "Mark I"
Introducing Howard Aiken 1
I Aiken's Machines
Proposed Automatic Calculating Machine 9
Aiken's First Machine: The IBM ASCC/Harvard Mark I 31
Constructing the IBM ASCC Harvard Mark I 65
Programming Mark I 77
Mark II, an Improved Mark I 111
Aiken's Alternative Number System 129
II Aiken's Program of Instruction and Training
Aiken and the Harvard "Comp Lab" 137
Aiken as a Teacher 143
Aiken's Program in a Harvard Setting 163
III Recollections
Commander Aiken and My Favorite Computer 185
Reminiscences of Aiken during World War II and Later 195
Reminiscences of the Boss 203
A View from Overseas 215
Aiken at Home, 1973 219
IV In His Own Words
Aiken in His Own Words: Selected and introduced by Gregory Welch 229
Specifications of Aiken's Four Machines 257
Aiken's Doctoral Students and Their Dissertations 273
Index 275
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