Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

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Today: November 27, 2014
Heinz Zemanek

January 1, 1920

Mail├╝fterl's Developer Heinz Zemanek Born

Heinz Zemanek, one of the European pioneers in computer technology, is born in Vienna, Austria. He studied at the University of Technology Vienna and received a doctorate degree in 1951. From 1954 to 1959 Zemanek gathered a group of students to develop the Mail├╝fterl, one of the earliest fully transistorized computers in Europe. Later, from 1961 to 1975, Zemanek was Director of the IBM Laboratory Vienna which was established for his team. During this period Zemanek designed the PL/I programming language. The formal definition was written in the Vienna Definition Language, which was later extended to the Vienna Definition Method (VDL and VDM). From 1968 to 1971 he founded the Austrian Computer Society and was President of the International Federation for Information Processing (IFIP). In 1976 Professor Zemanek was appointed IBM Fellow.


The EDVAC

January 1, 1945

Eckert and Mauchly Sign a Contract to Build the EDVAC

Eckert and Mauchly sign a contract to build the EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Computer), the first general-purpose electronic digital-stored program computer to be designed. Even before the ENIAC had been unveiled in 1946, Eckert and Mauchly were already thinking about their next machine. In June 1945, John von Neumann, who took an active part in the design discussions, made a key contribution to the understanding and development of computer architecture in his unpublished report titled First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC.

The EDVAC was completed only in 1952, long after Eckert and Mauchly had left the University of Pennsylvania. The computer, which was heavily modified from its original design, had been used for ballistic and satellite calculations. The EDVAC was shut off in January 1963.


January 1, 1971

The IEEE Computer Group Becomes the IEEE Computer Society

The IEEE Computer Group formally changes its name to the IEEE Computer Society (CS). The origin of both of these entities was the foundation of the subcommittee on Large-Scale Computing Devices by the American Institute of Electrical Engineers in 1946. Today, the IEEE CS is one of the largest of several dozen technical societies of IEEE, which has total membership of more than 430,000 in over 160 countries as of 2014.