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Programming and Planning
January-March 2011 (vol. 33 no. 1)
pp. 86-88
David Alan Grier, George Washington University

Although word "program" entered the vocabulary of computer developers with the ENIAC project, the word did not take its modern meaning at that time. Within the ENIAC, the term referred to the control signal that synchronized and directed the actions of the machine's individual units. Eight years would pass before the field would shift the usage of the word program away from the electronic circuits that controlled the machine toward the symbolic instructions that describe a set of operations to be set in motion by those circuits. In the intervening time, engineers more commonly used the word planning to describe the process of preparing a list of instructions for a computer. The term "plan" derived from the production engineering field, a discipline that developed in the 1920s in England in response to the production demands of World War I. The story of its usage shows how the concept of programming started to develop and suggests that programming owes much to the fields of production engineering systems engineering.

Index Terms:
History of computing, John von Neumann, Herman Goldstine, Institution for Production Engineering, Frederick Winslow Taylor, planning, programming, production engineering, Walter Shewhart, quality control
Citation:
David Alan Grier, "Programming and Planning," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 33, no. 1, pp. 86-88, Jan.-March 2011, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2011.11
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