ENIAC                             World Wide Web

The Computer, from Pascal to von Neumann

This is the title of a marvelous book by Herman H. Goldstine, highly recommended to anyone interested in the early days of the ENIAC. The back cover says:

In 1942, Lt. Herman H. Goldstine, a former mathematics professor, was stationed at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania where he assisted in the creation of the ENIAC, the first electronic digital computer.

The ENIAC was operational in 1945, but plans for a new computer were already under way. The principal source of ideas for the new computer was John von Neumann, who became Goldstine's chief collaborator. After World War II, at the Institute for Advanced Study, they built the prototype of the present-day computer.

Herman Goldstine writes as both historian and scientist in this first examination of the development of computing machinery, from the seventeenth century through the early 1950s. His personal involvement lends a special authenticity to his narrative.

Table of Contents

PART ONE: The Historical Background up to World War II

  1. Beginnings
  2. Charles Baggage and His Analytical Engine
  3. The Astronomical Ephemeris
  4. The Universities: Maxwell and Boole
  5. Integrators and Planimeters
  6. Michaelson, Fourier Coefficients, and the Gibbs Phenomenon
  7. Boolean Algebra: x**2 = x*x = x
  8. Billings, Hollerith, and the Census
  9. Ballistics and the Rise of the Great Mathematicians
  10. Bush's Differential Analyzer and Other Analog Devices
  11. Adaptation to Scientific Needs
  12. Renascence and Triumph of Digital Means of Computation

PART TWO: Wartime Developments: ENIAC and EDVAC

  1. Electronic Efforts prior to ENIAC
  2. The Ballistic Research Laboratory
  3. Differences between Analog and Digital Machines
  4. Beginnings of the ENIAC
  5. The ENIAC as a Mathematical Instrument
  6. John von Neumann and the Computer
  7. Beyond the ENIAC
  8. The Structure of the EDVAC
  9. The Spread of Ideas
  10. First Calculations on the ENIAC

PART THREE: Post-World War II: The von Neumann Machine and The Institute for Advanced Study

  1. Post-EDVAC Days
  2. The Institute for Advanced Study Computer
  3. Automata Theory and Logic Machines
  4. Numerical Mathematics
  5. Numerical Meteorology
  6. Engineering Activities and Achievements
  7. The Computer and UNESCO
  8. The Early Industrial Scene
  9. Programming Languages
  10. Conclusions

APPENDIX: World-Wide Developments

Publication Information

Published by Princeton University Press, 41 William Street, Princeton, New Jersey, 08540 USA. Telephone 1-800-777-4726.

Copyright 1972 by Princeton University Press. New preface copyright 1993.

Library of Congress Card No. 70-173755
ISBN 0-691-08104-2 (hardback)
ISBN 0-691-02367-0 (paperback)
378 pages.