This Day in History
August 14, 1940
Atanasoff Finishes Paper Describing the Atanasoff Berry Computer
John Atanasoff finishes a paper describing the Atanasoff Berry Computer, or ABC, the computer he designed with Clifford Berry to solve simultaneous linear equations. Atanasoff was only able to claim credit for this paper and title of inventor of the electronic digital computer after a long court battle that ended in 1972. The case - initiated on a charge by Honeywell Inc. that Sperry Rand. Corp. had enforced a fraudulent patent - involved lengthy testimony by Atanasoff and ENIAC inventors Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, who held the patent under review. A judge's ruling that Atanasoff was the true inventor led to invalidation of the ENIAC patent.
A working replica of the original ABC was completed in 1997 by staff and volunteers at Iowa State University at Ames.
Atanasoff died on June 15, 1995.