Howard Aiken

Hovard Aiken was an American physicist and pioneer in computer science, since he is an original conceptual designer behind IBM’s Harvard Mark I computer. Aiken studied at the University of Visconsin-Madison and later received a doctorate. in physics at Harvard University in 1939.

During this period, he encountered differential equations that he could solve solely numerically. He imagined an electromechanical computer device that could do a lot of trouble for him. This computer was originally named ACC (Automatically Controlled Calculator), later renamed Harvard Mark I. With IBM’s financing, the machine was completed and installed at Harvard in February 1944.

The machine was 15.3 meters long and 2.4 meters high. It weighed 35 tons and was made of about a million kilometers of wire and more than 3 000 000 connections. Mark was programmed to solve problems using a paper strip on which the instructions are encoded. Once programmed, the machine could be run by people with little training. Mark I was used in the US Navy on work in ballistics and design.

In 1947, Aiken completed his work on Harvard Mark II. He continued his work on Mark III and Harvard Mark IV. Mark III used some electronic components while Mark IV was completely electronic. Mark III and Mark IV both used the magnetic drum memory, and Mark IV also had a magnetic core memory. Aiken was inspired by the Bebidge Differential Machine (see https://b612.rs/en/2018/02/14/charles-babbage/).

In addition to his work on the Mark series, Another Important Contribution to Aiken was the introduction of a master’s computer program at Harvard in 1947, almost a decade before the programs began appearing at other universities. This has become a starting point for future computer scientists, many of whom have done doctoral dissertations under Aiken’s mentoring.

2018-06-17T01:02:06+00:00