History of Supercomputing

Panel 2 -- 1946-1949

timeline only

Algorithms and computational methods developed by DOE researchers in the 1940s and 1950s are still in use today. A prime example is the Monte Carlo method. It may be thought of as similar to a political poll, where a statistical sample is used to predict the behavior of a large group. Today's applications of Monte Carlo include cancer therapy, traffic flow, Dow-Jones forecasting, and oil well exploration.

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1946 J. Presper Eckert & John Mauchly, ACM, AEEI, ENIAC,
Stan Ulam & John von Neumann - The Monte Carlo Method
Von Neumann's first program written for a modern computer (handwritten - 1945) and a sample flow diagram from Goldstine/Von Neumann (1947). Metropolis, a computer designed for using Monte Carlo.

At the University of Pennsylvania, ENIAC - the first large-scale electronic computer - was tested with the "Los Alamos problem," calculations important to the design of thermonuclear weapons. This photo shows how the ENIAC was programmed by interconnecting the electron tube registers with cables inserted in plug boards.

1947 First Transistor; Harvard Mark II (Magnetic Drum Storage)

1948 Manchester Mark I (1st stored-program digital computer), Whirlwind at MIT

1949 Short Order Code by John Mauchly, Core Memory-Jay Forrester

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