Person: Mauchly, John William
John Mauchly was an American physicist who, along with Prosper Eckert designed ENIAC, the first general purpose electronic computer.
Mathematical Profile (Excerpt):
- In 1925 John was awarded a scholarship by the State of Maryland to allow him to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
- He began studying engineering at Johns Hopkins but his interests changed in the course of his studies towards pure science and his first degree was in physics.
- Mauchly continued studying physics after taking his first degree and he was awarded his doctorate in 1932.
- By 1940 Mauchly was teaching physics at Ursinus College near Philadelphia.
- Also Mauchly's interests were in electrical engineering and he looked for ways to develop electrical circuits for computation.
- Work was going on in the area of producing electrical circuits to do arithmetic and Mauchly, together with some of his students from Ursinus College, visited establishments where such developments were being undertaken.
- Mauchly began to experiment in constructing electrical circuits for counting while at Ursinus College, aimed at trying out new ideas which he brought to the subject.
- Mauchly took a training course in electronics, designed for defence purposes, at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.
- Having completed the course Mauchly was offered a position as an instructor on the course.
- Mauchly had already developed his own ideas on how to construct a better computer and he tried to interest other members of staff at the Moore School but with little success.
- One person who was interested in his ideas, however, was John Eckert who had been one of his instructors at Moore College when Mauchly had been a student on the training course.
- Mauchly wrote a report on the design of an electronic computer which would, in his opinion, be far easier to use and allow results to be obtained much more quickly than the Bush analyser.
- He read Mauchly's report in March 1943, eighteen months after it was written, and was very impressed.
- Various committees then considered the proposal before money could be assigned to the project of building Mauchly's computer, and in April 1943 Veblen approved the scheme.
- Mauchly and John Eckert then collaborated in the construction of the Electronic Integrator and Computer (ENIAC).
- Both Mauchly and John Eckert left the Moore School at the University of Pennsylvania in October 1946.
- The Electronic Control Company become the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and it received an order from the National Bureau of Standards to build the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC).
- John Eckert and Mauchly were better at computer design than they were at the economics of running a company.
- As a consequence the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation soon hit financial difficulties.
- In 1950 the Remington Rand Corporation acquired the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation and changed its name to the Univac Division of Remington Rand.
- Mauchly left the company and formed Mauchly Associates of which he was president from 1959 to 1965 when he became chairman of the board.
- Mauchly served as president of Dynatrend Inc.
Born 30 August 1907, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Died 8 January 1980, Ambler, Pennsylvania, USA.
View full biography at MacTutor
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Adapted from other CC BY-SA 4.0 Sources:
- O’Connor, John J; Robertson, Edmund F: MacTutor History of Mathematics Archive