Calculating Instruments and Machines. Douglas R. Hartree.
Calculating Instruments and Machines
Calculating Instruments and Machines

Calculating Instruments and Machines

Urbana: The University of Illinois Press 1949. First Edition. ix, 138 pages. 8vo. Publisher's tan cloth. Minor shelf wear to the boards at head/tail spine panel and extremities. Signature of A. Wayne Brooke and date on the front flyleaf. Shallow abrasions to rear board. Clean internally. A nice ownership signature. Very Good. Cloth. [27136]


The first edition. This book is based on a series of lectures by Hartree at the University of Illinois in the fall of 1948 intended to outline recent developments in the field. There is much of interest for the computer historian, with chapters devoted to differential analyzers, large automatic digital machines, Charles Babbage and the Analytical Engine, and "The First Stage of Development" with information on the Harvard Mark I, The Eniac, SSEC, etc. "Hartree's chief contribution to science was his development of powerful methods of numerical mathematical analysis...he built the first differential analyzer in Britain for the graphical solution of differential equations. He later pioneered in the introduction of digital computers and their use in the United Kingdom." -DSB

"These lectures were intended for a well-informed scientific audience outside the tiny group of professionals then involved with electronic computing. They represented the first comprehensive exposition of electronic digital computing, and this book was one of the first two treatises on the subject...Chapter 8, entitled "Projects and prospects," contains the first generally available comprehensive account of the stored-program machines then in development, including EDVAC, ACE, and EDSAC." (Origins of Cyberspace 652, 653).

Brooke was the chief electronic engineer for the IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC). Brooke argued that the SSEC was the first electronic computer because of its unique stored-memory capacity. The SSEC was in operation for only 4 short years, it was invented by luminaries in the field (Wallace J. Eckert, Thomas Watson, and Ron Seeber) and was replaced by the IBM 701. (source: http : slash slash www dot lib dot ncsu dot edu slash archives slash collections slash html slash brooke dot html).

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