September 28, 2012 / IST / Science & Technology.

ENIAC ( Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) was the first electronic general-purpose computer. It was Turing-complete, digital, and capable of being reprogrammed to solve a full range of computing problems.

ENIAC was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory. When ENIAC was announced in 1946 it was heralded in the press as a “Giant Brain”. It boasted speeds one thousand times faster than electro-mechanical machines, a leap in computing power that no single machine has since matched. This mathematical power, coupled with general-purpose programmability, excited scientists and industrialists. The inventors promoted the spread of these new ideas by conducting a series of lectures on computer architecture.

ENIAC’s design and construction was financed by the United States Army during World War II. The construction contract was signed on June 5, 1943, and work on the computer began in secret by theUniversity of Pennsylvania’s Moore School of Electrical Engineering starting the following month under the code name “Project PX”. The completed machine was announced to the public the evening of February 14, 1946 and formally dedicated the next day at the University of Pennsylvania, having cost almost $500,000 (approximately $6,000,000 today). It was formally accepted by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in July 1946. ENIAC was shut down on November 9, 1946 for a refurbishment and a memory upgrade, and was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland in 1947. There, on July 29, 1947, it was turned on and was in continuous operation until 11:45 p.m. on October 2, 1955.

ENIAC was conceived and designed by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert of the University of Pennsylvania. The team of design engineers assisting the development included Robert F. Shaw (function tables), Jeffrey Chuan Chu (divider/square-rooter), Thomas Kite Sharpless (master programmer), Arthur Burks (multiplier), Harry Huskey (reader/printer) and Jack Davis (accumulators). ENIAC was named an IEEE Milestone in 1987.

10 Thing About ENIAC

  1. “The ENIAC was the first computer built to take full advantage of electronic processing speeds and to ‘think’ for itself using conditional branching and nested subroutines.” ..Being entirely electronic and credited as introducing the modern, computer industry made it stand apart as well.
  2. The ENIAC was first made public on Friday, Feb. 15, 1946, not, as others have suggested Feb. 14,as confirmed by Philadelphia magazine. (The press release was distributed Feb. 14, as noted on Radio Times)
  3. The ENIAC vision is largely credited to physicist John Mauchly and young engineer J. Presper Eckert, through U.S. Army experimental funding MORE ORAL HISTORY
  4. The ENIAC belongs to the Smithsonian, though small pieces are on loan at the University of Pennsylvania, in Minnesota and elsewhere MORE
  5. “Mauchly and Eckert, went on to create UNIVAC, the first programmable computer designed for business applications.” MORE
  6. “Originally designed for the production of ballistic tables for the Second World War, the machine was not completed until after the war ended. It was widely used for scientific computation until the early 1950s” MORE
  7. Who gets credit? “…With the advent of everyday use of elaborate calculations, speed has become paramount to such a high degree that there is no machine on the market today capable of satisfying the full demand of modern computational methods.’ – from the ENIAC patent(U.S.#3,120,606) filed on June 26, 1947.” The patent was later invalidating by a legal rebuke.
  8. By the Numbers: “The ENIAC contained 17,468 vacuum tubes, along with 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors, 1,500 relays, 6,000 manual switches and 5 million soldered joints. It covered 1800 square feet (167 square meters) of floor space, weighed 30 tons, consumed 160 kilowatts of electrical power.” MORE ENIAC could hold 20 10-digit numbers… you could park a school bus inside the computer MORE
  9. A Quick End: By March 1947, a new electronic super calculator was touted as “capable of making the Army’s world-famed ENIAC look like a dunce” — A series of variations, like the BINIAC followed. “At 11:45 p.m., October 2, 1955, with the power finally shut off, the ENIAC retired.”
  10. A group of female ‘computers’ was instrumental in the ENIAC’s foundation and a documentary focused on their role in the broader World War II fight.



Top 10 ranking of Super Computer

The following table gives the Top 10 positions of the 39th TOP500 List released on June 18, 2012.
NameComputer design
Processor type, interconnect
Country, year
Operating system
SequoiaBlue Gene/Q
PowerPC A2, Custom
IBMLawrence Livermore National Laboratory
 United States, 2011
Linux (RHEL and CNL)
K computerRIKEN
SPARC64 VIIIfx, Tofu
 Japan, 2011
MiraBlue Gene/Q
PowerPC A2, Custom
IBMArgonne National Laboratory
 United States, 2012
SuperMUCiDataPlex DX360M4
Xeon E5–2680, Infiniband
 Germany, 2012
Tianhe-1ANUDT YH Cluster
Xeon 5670 + Tesla 2050, Arch[4]
NUDTNational Supercomputing Center of Tianjin
 China, 2010
JaguarCray XT5
Opteron 6274 + Tesla 2090, Cray Gemini
CrayOak Ridge National Laboratory
 United States, 2009
Linux (CLE)
FermiBlue Gene/Q
PowerPC A2, Custom
 Italy, 2012
JuQUEENBlue Gene/Q
PowerPC A2, Custom
IBMForschungszentrum Jülich
 Germany, 2012
CurieBullx B510
Xeon E5–2680, Infiniband
BullTGCC at CEA, and GENCI
 France, 2012
Linux (bullx)
NebulaeTC3600 Blade
Xeon 5650 + Tesla 2050, InfiniBand
DawningNational Supercomputing Center in Shenzhen|NSCS
 China, 2010