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ENIAC: press conference that shook the world

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1 Author(s)
C. D. Martin ; Dept. of Electr. Eng. & Comput. Sci., George Washington Univ., Washington, DC, USA

On February 14th 1946, ENIAC, hailed as the first truly large-scale electronic computer, was announced to the public. In this article, I reflect upon the impact of that announcement on the public perception of computers. ENIAC was certainly not the only large-scale computer in operation at the time, but it represents a unique marker in the public consciousness, due to the dramatic way in which it was unveiled at a Saturday press conference at the Moore School of Engineering in Philadelphia. I analyze some of the typical headlines about ENIAC that appeared in 1946, and examine claims that these headlines were a major factor in the public perception of computers for decades to come.

Published in:

IEEE Technology and Society Magazine  (Volume:14 ,  Issue: 4 )