Radio Times

The ENIAC Anniversary

February 14, 2011


The ENIAC Computer at the University of Pennsylvania

Hour 2

When most people think about February 14th, they think about love, but some people think about a computer – the ENIAC – the computer that helped spark the digital revolution.  ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer and on the 14th of February in 1946, it was unveiled at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Engineering.  This 30-ton behemoth was 150 feet wide and could add 5000 numbers in a second, which may be nothing by modern computing standards but back then it was awe-inspiring.  This hour, we’ll pay tribute to the ENIAC and look at how far we’ve come (IBM’s Watson computer debuts on Jeopardy this week) with University of Pennsylvania computer scientist MITCH MARCUS.  Finally, we’ll talk with writer JANE SMILEY about digital pioneer John Atanasoff, the man some people credit with inventing the digital computing machine.  Her new book is, The Man Who Invented the Computer.

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