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Issue No.04 - October-December (2007 vol.29)
pp: 82-87
ABSTRACT
Demonstrates that the ENIAC was used in stored-program mode in March/April 1947 and gives description of program run.
INDEX TERMS
ENIAC, first stored program, Manchester Baby, Nick Metropolis, Monte Carlo, von Neumann
CITATION
Crispin Rope, "ENIAC as a Stored-Program Computer: A New Look at the Old Records", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.29, no. 4, pp. 82-87, October-December 2007, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2007.56
REFERENCES
1. John von Neumann to Stanislaw Ulam, 11 May 1948, box 5, folder 5, Charles Babbage Inst. (CBI), Univ. of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Honeywell Inc., Honeywell vs Sperry Rand Records (CBI 1).
2. W. Aspray, John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing, MIT Press, 1992, p. 330.
3. von Neumann to Ulam, 11 May 1948, CBI.
4. R.F. Clippinger Ballistic Research Laboratories Technical Note No. 673. There were a total of 67 orders: 53 were always used together with one of the two alternative sets of 7. It seems that the two alternative sets were referred to as "Princeton" and "Aberdeen," presumably reflecting the originators. These orders were first set down by Clippinger as of 13 Nov. 1947.
5. N. Metropolis, "The MANIAC," A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century, N. Metropolis, J. Howlet, and G.-C Rota eds. Academic Press, 1980, pp. 459-460.
6. Anne Fitzpatrick, private communication, 11 Aug. 2007. Fitzpatrick worked at Los Alamos and knew Nick Metropolis during the latter part of his life. Her research on this topic was published as a doctoral dissertation, "Igniting the Light Elements: the Los Alamos Thermonuclear Weapon Project, 1942–1952," LA-13577-T, Los Alamos National Laboratory, 1999.
7. N. Metropolis and J. Worlton, "A Trilogy of Errors in the History of Computing," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 2, no. 1, 1980; N. Metropolis, "The Beginning of the Monte Carlo Method," Los Alamos Science,special issue, 1987, p. 128; B. Fritz, Ballistic Research Laboratory Memorandum Report Number 617, "A Survey of ENIAC Operations and Problems 1946-52," Aug. 1952, p. 5.
8. S. Lavington, Early British Computers, Manchester Univ. Press, 1980, p. 36, The program was a factoring one and ran for 52 minutes on the morning of 21 June 1948.
9. S.H. Lavington the British Computer Society, A History of Manchester Computers, 2nd ed., 1998, pp. 12-17.
10. J.W. Mauchly, "The ENIAC," A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century, N. Metropolis, J. Howlet, and G.-C Rota eds. pp. 546-547.
11. J. Presper Eckert, "ENIAC," A History of Computing in the Twentieth Century, N. Metropolis, J. Howlet, and G.-C Rota eds. p. 529,, Eckert writes "a possibly long-term setting of the function table switches might be given a permanent set of arguments ... Then every time a new set of numbers was read from the card input, a new set of operations would be caused to occur. The foregoing ideas could be easily implemented on the ENIAC, and we expected that at sometime someone would want to do this, so we built the necessary cable to connect 'program pulses' into the function tables in place of 'digit pulses' ...".
12. Aspray, John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing, p. 238.
13. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Manuscript Division, John von Neumann Papers, container 12, "Actual Technique—The Use of the ENIAC," unpublished, n.d., anonymous report. On page 4 a circled note in different handwriting states, "Note to Klari: must distinguish between q and q*." The handwriting closely reflects that of John von Neumann.
14. "Ibid," p. 1.
15. S.M. Ulam, Adventures of a Mathematician, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1983, pp. 197-198.
16. C.C. Hurd, "A Note on Early Monte Carlo Computations and Scientific Meetings," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 7, April 1985, p. 152.
17. H.H. Goldstine The Herman H. Goldstine Collection, 1941–1971. Archives, Hampshire College, Amherst, Mass., box 2, Layouts-U, Monte Carlo Flow Diagram.
18. It is not von Neumann himself since he uses quite a different style for "q." See Ref. 15. Further work is desirable both on the handwriting of the December 1947 flowchart (which contains some 80 boxes, many of which would require a considerable number of instructions), comparing it to that of Adele, and also a detailed comparison of the problem contained in the 11 March and 1 December documents and the spring 1948 manuscript. However, for the purpose of this note, only some very brief points from the spring 1948 outline can be included. If this is not widely known, it is perhaps because it was not declassified until 6 July 1959, by which time interest in the ENIAC had largely waned; C.C. Hurd, "A Note on Early Monte Carlo Computations and Scientific Meetings," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 7, April 1985, p. 148.
19. Library of Congress, "Actual Technique—The Use of the ENIAC," p. 9, middle section of page.
20. "Ibid," p. 8.
21. Ulam, Adventures of a Mathematician, p. 200, Ulam states: "The first questions concerned the production of the random or pseudo-random numbers. Tricks were quickly devised to produce them internally in the machine itself without relying on any outside physical mechanism. (Clicks from a radioactive source or from cosmic rays would have been very good but too slow.)"
22. Library of Congress, "Actual Technique—The Use of the ENIAC," p. 15.
23. B. Fritz, "ENIAC-A Problem Solver," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 16, no. 1, 1994, p. 33.
24. ENIAC could have done this if it had the ability to take an instruction from a function table into an accumulator (which it could do) and send that instruction to the master programmer. Almost certainly this could have been arranged, but apparently was not the case. The Manchester Baby did not use this facility in its 21 June 1948 program.
25. "The proof that actual modification of instructions is required for all possible problems is contained in C.C. Elgot and A. Robinson, Random-Access Stored-Program Machines, An Approach to Programming Languages," J. ACM, vol. 11, no. 4, 1964, p. 397.
26. F.C. Williams and T. Kilburn, "Electronic Digital Computers," The Origins of Digital Computers, B. Randell ed. Springer-Verlag, 1982, p. 415.
27. B., Randell, "Commentary (with Replies by the Authors) on A.W. Burks and A.R. Burks' First General-Purpose Electronic Computer," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 3, no. 4, 1981, p. 396.
28. H.H. Goldstine, The Computer from Pascal to von Neumann, Princeton Univ. Press, 1993, p. 233, The specific date of 16 September 1948 is given.
29. T.J. Bergin ed. 50 years of Army Computing from ENIAC to MSRC, Army Research Lab, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., 2000, p. 30.
30. Larousse Dictionary of Scientists, Larousse, 1994, p. 552, Entry for Williams, Sir Frederic Calland. This is a typical reference. The wording here is "the aptly named Williams Tube became the basis for a prototype machine, built by Williams and Kilburn and which ran the world's first stored-program on 21 June 1948."
31. Simulation is used in many disciplines other than physics, including in such areas as management science, engineering and epidemiology, as well as in mathematics itself. A recent article (M. Berzins, "On the Role and Place of Computation in Science and Engineering," Computing in Science and Eng., vol. 9, no. 1, Jan./Feb. 2007, p. 98) quotes a US National Science Federation report, "Simulation also provides a unique alternative to experimental science and engineering, for it can be used to study events not observable or for which measurements are impractical or too expensive," as well as showing the complexity of some simulations undertaken today, which can require many hours of computer time. It would be interesting to compare in detail the problem as set out in von Neumann's letter of March 1947, the flowchart of December 1947 and Klari von Neumann's later outline of the work done. If the actual code used could be discovered, this would greatly add to knowledge of this pioneering program. Again, if it still exists, it is probably in one of the closed archives at Los Alamos. Unfortunately, at this time they are completely off limits to the public.
32. Aspray, John von Neumann and the Origins of Modern Computing, p. 69.
33. H.H. Goldstine and J. von Neumann, Planning and Coding of Problems for an Electronic Computing Instrument, Inst. For Advanced Study, Princeton, N.J., three vols: 1 Apr. 1947, 15 Apr. 1948, and 16 Aug. 1948.
34. Fritz, "ENIAC-A Problem Solver," p. 39.
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