Artifact Details


Leiner, Alan and Henrietta oral history

Catalog Number





In this oral history, Alan and Henrietta Leiner tell about the work that they did for the U.S. government in Washington, D.C. at the National Bureau of Standards, where three pioneering computers were designed. In 1950 the first of these computers, the SEAC, was put into operation. It operated successfully for many years, using programs that were stored within the machine. In 1952 the second computer, the DYSEAC, was completed and was installed in a trailer van, thus making it a mobile computer. It was capable of interacting in real time with a variety of external devices, including the SEAC. In 1959 these capabilities were expanded in the PILOT, whose system included a network of three independent computers capable of working together concurrently on a common problem. Alan Leiner and his staff devised the logical design of these pioneering computers. He and Henrietta Leiner subsequently undertook a second career, investigating the computing structures in the human brain, which led to a surprising discovery about the brain structures that contribute to the cognitive capabilities of humans.




Leiner, Alan L., Interviewee
Leiner, Henrietta, Interviewee
Spicer, Dag, Interviewer


Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California


16 p.




Atomic Energy Commission (AEC); DYRO (Dynamic Representations of Operations); United States Naval Observatory; ACM (Association for Computing Machinery); Noback, Charles R.; Dow, Robert S.; Leiner, Alan; Leiner, Henrietta; SEAC (Standards Eastern Automatic Computer); SWAC (Standards Western Automatic Computer); NBS (National Bureau of Standards, now NIST); Diamond, Harry; Arming tables; Lubkin, Samuel; Slutz, Ralph; Rhodes, Ida; DYSEAC; UNIVAC I; Wahls, Abraham; PILOT; University of Pennsylvania; Hunter College; United States Air Force; Dantzig, George; Hurd, Cuthbert; Smith, Lynn; Weinberger, Arnold

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Lot Number