The first large scale automatic computer, the Mark
I, is completed
Howard Aiken, a Harvard professor, was the primary developer
for the computer. The Mark I was more powerful than any machine that
came before it. This early computer could add, subtract, multiply
or divide two numbers up to 23 digits in length, all in a few seconds.
The machine consisted of over 750,000 pieces and weighed over 5 tons.
The machine functioned by operating dozens of calculators at the same time.
Previously these numbers would have been nearly impossible to manipulate
for any practical purpose. The Mark I allowed for many new possibilities
in science and government analysis. One disadvantage was that the
Mark I operated using switches and relays, whereas most other computers
were beginning to use vacuum tubes. The immense size of the computer
was restrictive, though that was a problem that would not be solved for
thirty more years.
Next : 1946 - The ENIAC