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Encyclopedia > EDVAC
The EDVAC as installed in Building 328 at the Ballistics Research Laboratory.
The EDVAC as installed in Building 328 at the Ballistics Research Laboratory.

EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer) was one of the earliest electronic computers. Unlike the ENIAC, it was binary rather than decimal. EDVAC U.S. Army Photo http://ftp. ... Two digital voltmeters The field of electronics is the study and use of systems that operate by controlling the flow of electrons or other electrically charged particles in devices such as thermionic valves and semiconductors. ... A drawing of the everyday computer. ... ENIAC ENIAC, short for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, was long thought to have been the first electronic computer designed to be Turing-complete, capable of being reprogrammed by rewiring to solve a full range of computing problems. ... Look up binary in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with decimal representation. ...

Contents


Project origin and plans

The design for the EDVAC was developed before the ENIAC was even operational, it was intended to resolve many of the problems created by the ENIAC's design. Like the ENIAC, the EDVAC was built for the U.S. Army's Ballistics Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground by the University of Pennsylvania. The ENIAC designers Eckert & Mauchly were joined by John von Neumann and some others and the new design was based on von Neumann's 1945 report (see External links, below). ENIAC ENIAC, short for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, was long thought to have been the first electronic computer designed to be Turing-complete, capable of being reprogrammed by rewiring to solve a full range of computing problems. ... ENIAC ENIAC, short for Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer, was long thought to have been the first electronic computer designed to be Turing-complete, capable of being reprogrammed by rewiring to solve a full range of computing problems. ... US Army Seal HHC, US Army Distinctive Unit Insignia The Army is the branch of the United States armed forces that has primary responsibility for land-based military operations. ... The US Army Ballistics Research Labatory is at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Aberdeen, Maryland. ... Aberdeen Proving Ground is a United States Army proving ground located in Harford County, Maryland. ... The University of Pennsylvania (Penn is the nickname used by the university itself; UPenn is also common) is a private, nonsectarian, research university located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. ... John Presper Eckert, a computer pioneer, was born April 9, 1919 in Philadelphia and died June 3, 1995 in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. ... John William Mauchly (August 30, 1907 – January 8, 1980) was an American physicist and computer engineer who, along with J. Presper Eckert, designed ENIAC, the first general-purpose electronic digital computer, and UNIVAC I, the first commercial computer made in the United States. ... John von Neumann in the 1940s. ...


A contract to build the new computer was signed in April 1946 with an initial budget of US$100,000 and the contract named the device the Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Calculator. A major concern in construction was to balance reliability and economy. The final cost of EDVAC, however, ended up similar to the ENIAC's at just under $500,000; five-fold the initial estimate. USD redirects here. ...


Technical description

The computer that was built was to be binary with automatic addition, subtraction, multiplication, programmed division and automatic checking with a memory capacity of 1,000 44-bit words (later set to 1,024 words, thus giving a memory, in modern terms, of 4 kilobytes). In computing, word is a term for the natural unit of data used by a particular computer design. ... A kilobyte (derived from the SI prefix kilo-) is a unit of information or computer storage equal to either 1024 or 1000 bytes. ...


Physically the computer was built out of the following components:

  • a magnetic tape reader-recorder
  • a control unit with an oscilloscope
  • a dispatcher unit to receive instructions from the control and memory and direct them to other units
  • a computational unit to perform arithmetic operations on a pair of numbers at a time and send the result to memory after checking on a duplicate unit
  • a timer
  • a dual memory unit consisting of two sets of 64 mercury acoustic delay lines of eight words capacity on each line
  • three temporary tanks each holding a single word

EDVAC's addition time was 864 microseconds and its multiplication time was 2900 microseconds (2.9 milliseconds). Magnetic tape is a non-volatile storage medium consisting of a magnetic coating on a thin plastic strip. ... A Tektronix model 475A portable analogue oscilloscope, a very typical instrument of the late 1970s. ... General Name, Symbol, Number mercury, Hg, 80 Chemical series transition metals Group, Period, Block 12, 6, d Appearance silvery white Atomic mass 200. ... The term delay line has multiple meanings: In electronics and derivative fields such as telecommunications, a delay line is rigorously defined as a single-input-channel device, in which the output channel state at a given instant, t, is the same as the input channel state at the instant t... A microsecond is an SI unit of time equal to one millionth (10-6) of a second. ...


The computer had almost 6,000 vacuum tubes and 12,000 diodes, and consumed 56 kW of power. It covered 490 ft² (45.5 ) of floor space and weighed 17,300 lb (7,850 kg). The full complement of operating personnel were thirty people for each eight-hour shift. In electronics, a vacuum tube (U.S. and Canadian English) or (thermionic) valve (outside North America) is a device generally used to amplify, or otherwise modify, a signal by controlling the movement of electrons in an evacuated space. ... Types of diodes In electronics, a diode is a component that restricts the direction of movement of charge carriers. ... The kilowatt (symbol: kW) is a unit for measuring power, equal to one thousand watts. ... A square foot is by definition the area enclosed by a square with sides each 1 foot long. ... A square metre (US spelling: square meter) is by definition the area enclosed by a square with sides each 1 metre long. ... Shift work is an employment practice designed to make use of the 24 hours of the clock, rather than a standard working day. ...


Installation and operation

EDVAC was delivered to the Ballistics Research Laboratory in August 1949 and after a number of problems had been discovered and solved, the computer began operation in 1951 although only on a limited basis. It took so long to complete because there was a dispute over patent rights between Eckert & Mauchly and the University of Pennsylvania. This resulted in Eckert and Mauchly leaving to form the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and taking most of the senior engineers with them. A patent is a set of exclusive rights granted by a state to a person for a fixed period of time in exchange for the regulated, public disclosure of certain details of a device, method, process or composition of matter (substance) (known as an invention) which is new, inventive and... The Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation (EMCC) was founded by J. Presper Eckert and John William Mauchly, and was incorporated on December 22, 1947. ...


By 1960 EDVAC was running over 20 hours a day with error-free run time averaging eight hours. EDVAC received a number of upgrades including punch-card I/O in 1953, extra memory in slower magnetic drum form in 1954, and a floating point arithmetic unit in 1958. The punch card (or Hollerith card) is a recording medium for holding information for use by automated data processing machines. ... hi i am cool xbox is all most as cool as me hi again ... A floating-point number is a digital representation for a number in a certain subset of the rational numbers, and is often used to approximate an arbitrary real number on a computer. ...


EDVAC ran until 1961 when it was replaced by BRLESC; over its lifetime it had proved to be highly reliable and productive. The BRLESC I (Ballistic Research Laboratories Electronic Scientific Computer) was a first-generation electronic computer built by the US Army Ballistics Research Laboratory (BRL) at Aberdeen Proving Ground with assistance from the NBS, and was designed to take over the computational workload of EDVAC and ORDVAC, which themselves were successors...


External links

  • First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC by John von Neumann (PDF) – Contract No.W-670-ORD-4926. Between the United States Army Ordnance Department and the University of Pennsylvania. Moore School of Electrical Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, June 30, 1945.

  Results from FactBites:
 
EDVAC - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (448 words)
EDVAC was delivered to the Ballistics Research Laboratory in August 1949 and after a number of problems had been discovered and solved the computer began operation in 1951 although only on a limited basis.
EDVAC received a number of upgrades including punch card I/O in 1953, extra memory in slower magnetic drum form in 1954, and a floating point arithmetic unit in 1958.
EDVAC ran until 1961 when it was replaced by BRLESC; over its lifetime it had proved to be highly reliable and productive.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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