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Agricultural computing and the context for John Atanasoff

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1 Author(s)
Grier, D.A. ; George Washington Univ., Washington, DC

The story of John Atanasoff occupies an unsettled spot in the literature of computing. The material about him ranges from curt dismissals to hagiography. While scholars are getting an ever more accurate picture of Atanasoff's work and his contribution to computing, even the best articles tend to treat him as an aberration, a lone inventor working outside the circle of computing machine researchers. In fact, Atanasoff worked closely with the Iowa State Statistics Laboratory for three years. This laboratory was part of the computing labs that the US Department of Agriculture sponsored. The Department of Agriculture had become interested in computing shortly after World War I. Atanasoff's computer, the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), was designed to do a time-consuming task for the Statistical Laboratory, the one task that had not been automated with IBM punched card equipment

Published in:

Annals of the History of Computing, IEEE  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 1 )

Date of Publication:

Jan-Mar 2000

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