General, Research, Technology

The first modern computer is 75 years old. What was he like?

In February 2021, the first computerthe modern type is exactly 75 years old. We are talking about the ENIAC computer, the existence of which became known on February 15, 1946. The structure weighed 27 tons and, in today's money, cost 7.2 million US dollars. Initially, the computer was intended for military use, to quickly calculate the trajectory of ballistic missiles and other types of projectiles. However, if necessary, it could be configured to solve other problems. This was done by programmers, who in most cases were women. Working with the ENIAC computer required special skill and looked very strange from the outside. In a nutshell, programmers walked around the room, switching wires, turning controls, and so on. But let's find out a little more about this computer? Without complicated terms - only the most important and interesting.

ENIAC computer and the first programmers in human history

History of the creation of the ENIAC computer

Development of the ENIAC computer was started in 1942year, at Moore School of Electrical Engineering, Pennsylvania. It was expected to make it easier for women to manually calculate the flight paths of ballistic missiles and other projectiles. They had to take into account the position of the firearm, the strength of the wind, the air temperature, the speed of the projectile, and many other parameters. The military needed to know about 3,000 projectile flight paths. The calculation of each of the trajectories required about 1000 operations. This took each woman about 16 days. As a result of these calculations, the so-called firing tables were compiled, with the help of which the military could accurately hit enemy targets.

Shooting table for a rifle with a 24 inch barrel, chambered for 7.62 mm with a 148 gram bullet

The ENIAC computer was designed for fastcompiling tables. To explain the principles of operation of this device, you need to write a huge book, so we will not delve into this and just figure out what ENIAC looked like and how it looked to work with it. As mentioned above, it weighed 27 tons and cost $ 7.2 million. The structure was U-shaped, its length was 24 meters and all this stuff occupied an area of ​​167 square meters. The technical equipment included 17,468 lamps, 7,200 silicon diodes, 10,000 capacitors and thousands of other components. Above was a ventilation system to remove heat. All in all, it was a huge wardrobe with hundreds of glowing bulbs.

Computer room ENIAC

Read also: A quantum computer was created in China that solved the most difficult problem in 200 seconds

Computer power ENIAC

In terms of power, it was weaker than even moderncalculators. But for those times, his abilities were amazing. Before its creation, people manipulated numbers on their own and it took a long time. But the ENIAC computer could perform 357 multiplications or 5000 additions per second. As you can imagine, the design was very complex, so the computer often crashed. At first, they occurred twice a day, but then the developers installed more reliable components and the number of failures was reduced to once every two days.

ENIAC computer programming process

The ENIAC computer could not be installedprograms like on current laptops and other devices. Therefore, it had to be re-configured to perform various tasks. To do this, operators had to pull wires to different connectors, turn knobs and perform many other actions. In those days, this work did not even have an official name. But, in fact, ENIAC operators were the first programmers in history. It took weeks to program, and weeks to debug.

Real videos with ENIAC computer

The existence of the ENIAC computer for a whilekept secret. For the first time they wrote about him in the newspapers on February 15, 1946. It just so happened that the device was not used for a long time. In 1955, the ENIAC project was closed because more powerful computers appeared in the world. It is important to note that more powerful computers existed at the time of the creation of ENIAC, just the fact of their existence was carefully hidden. The hero of this article is considered the first modern computer because it could be configured to solve various problems.

If you are interested in the news of science and technology, subscribe to our channel in Yandex. Dzen. There you will find materials that have not been published on the site!

The past XX century was an amazing time whenscience and technology have made great breakthroughs. It was at this time that the first cars, airplanes, computers, and even robots began to appear. On our site there is a fairly long article about the very first robots in the history of mankind. Of course, people tried to create human-like devices even in the days of Leonardo Da Vinci, but really interesting robots appeared in the last century. You can find out what they were at this link.