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UNIVERSITY HISTORY

After ENIAC:
Important Milestones and Fascinating Innovations During the Last Fifty Years of Computing Research at the University of Pennsylvania

This exhibit was researched and written by Nicholas G. Heavens, University Archives Summer Research Fellow, 2000-2002. He is an undergraduate at the University of Chicago and has been a University Archives Summer Research Fellow for the last three years. Much of this exhibit is based on his research of the history of computing at Penn in the summer of 2000.

 


 

Not many universities can claim to have seen the genesis of a technological revolution. The University of Pennsylvania was indeed fortunate to have been the site where the world's first large-scale general purpose digital computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), was built. Yet the history of the granddaddy of all modern computers has overshadowed much of the research and innovation that has occurred at Penn since the construction of ENIAC. Many brilliant researchers still walk through the halls of the Moore Building, whose dark basement once held the vast immensity of vacuum tubes and wires that was ENIAC. Indeed, innovative computer researchers walk through all of the Schools of the University of Pennsylvania.

While moving through this exhibit, take a look at some of the people, places, and ideas that have shaped the University's use of all kinds of computer hardware and software.

Photo of John G. Brainerd

1. John G. Brainerd

Photo of Saul Gorn in front of the University's UNIVAC I computer, located in the University Computer Center

2. Saul Gorn and the University Computer Center (UCC)

Bennett Hall, photographed around 1956. Zellig Harris's office was on the third floor.

3. World's First Spelling and Grammar Checker

Grace Murray Hopper (second from left) and other unidentified individuals at a donation check presentation from Remington-Rand Univac to the University of Pennsylvania, 13 July 1962.

4. Birth of COBOL

Photograph: Dr. William Shainline Middleton poses in combat dress during the First World War.

5. "Medicine before Automation"

Photograph: An unidentified Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania physician examines output from the PDP-12

6. Breathing into the PDP-12

Photograph of Aravind K. Joshi, 1983

7. Aravind K. Joshi

Photo of Norman Badler programming Bubbleman in 1978

8. Bubbleman

Photograph of University Museum

9. Different Projects, Same Computer Language/
Similar Projects, Different Computer Language

Photograph of David J. Farber

10. Aurora Testbed Initiative

IRSC logo

11. IRCS Improves Sorting of Search Engine Results