Howard Aiken: Portrait of a Computer Pioneer Hardcover – Jun 8 1999
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
About the Author
I. Bernard Cohen is the Victor S. Thomas Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at Harvard University. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
Great controversies never die. The brouhaha surrounding the unveiling of the IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (or Harvard Mark I), the first general-purpose automatic computer, is a perfect example: Who invented it, IBM engineers or Harvard applied mathematician Howard Aiken? Science historian I. Bernard Cohen knew Aiken and tells the whole story in Howard Aiken: Portrait of a Computer Pioneer, both an engaging life story of a unique man and a tale of the rancorous struggle for recognition between strong personalities.
Through Cohen's painstaking research, including exhaustive looks into the archives of Harvard and IBM, interviews with Aiken and other principals, and his own reminiscences, the reader gets a glimpse into the partnership between business, academia, and the military, which, like it or not, propelled us headfirst into the Information Age. We catch a glimpse of how Aiken's self-described "laziness" in graduate school led him to dream of a machine that would ease the burden of complex calculations. From this passivity the development of the Mark I followed between 1937 and 1944, and the never-completely-resolved conflict over inventor's credit.
Cohen is a mild partisan on Aiken's behalf but argues convincingly that subsequent developments in our understanding of computer design moot or at least temper the problem--acknowledging that crucial contributions were made on both sides, he suggests that the problem never would have arisen today. --Rob LightnerSee all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Look for similar items by category
- Books > Biographies & Memoirs > Professionals & Academics > Scientists
- Books > Computers & Technology > Computer Science
- Books > Computers & Technology > History & Culture > Biographies
- Books > Computers & Technology > History & Culture > History
- Books > Education & Reference
- Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Philosophy
- Books > Professional & Technical > Professional Science > Mathematics
- Books > Science & Math > History & Philosophy > History of Science
- Books > Science & Math > History & Philosophy > History of Technology