Electronic Brains: Stories from the Dawn of the Computer Age

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Granta, 2005 - Computers - 274 pages
By the 1960s, IBM had beaten all rivals and dominated the world computer market. But IBM came late to the race. From the 1930s to the 1960s, small, independent teams on four continents worked on the development of the first modern computers- practical, electronic, multi-purpose, digital machines with memory for data and programs. From interviews with surviving members of those original teams, the author builds up a picture of the eccentric men and women who laid the foundations for the computerised world we now live in, recreating the atmosphere of those early days. Some of the early projects, such as LEO, the Lyons Electronic Office, developed by the catering company J Lyons and Co in London in the 1940s, are now famous, others, such as the ABC, built in the basement of Iowa State College and abandoned when war broke out, and the RAND 409, constructed in a barn in Connecticut under the watchful eye of a stuffed moose, almost unknown. came and went in the years before IBM ruled the world, including the Phillips Hydraulic Economics Computer, or MONIAC, which perfectly demonstrated the workings of the economy by way of coloured water flowing through plastic tubes and the UNIVAC, which became a household name when, live on television, it correctly predicted the results of the 1952 US presidential election.

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User Review  - jbennett - LibraryThing

This is a thoroughly enjoyable book covering the early years of computing roughly up to the mid 60s but focusing on the pioneering computers and teams around the world after the Second World War. I ... Read full review

Electronic brains: stories from the dawn of the computer age

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Inspired by a popular BBC radio series of the same name, this book details the post-war computer development boom, concentrating on the personalities instead of the technology, and blending human ... Read full review


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About the author (2005)

Mike Hally trained as an electronics engineer and worked at British Aerospace for seventeen years. He started working for Radio 4 in 1989 as a freelancer, where he still works today. He later formed Pennine Productions, producing programmes for Radio 4.

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