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Digital Computer, 'electronic brain' at the University of Illinois
Digital Computer, 'electronic brain' at the University of Illinois
Resource Typeimage
TitleDigital Computer, 'electronic brain' at the University of Illinois
Coverage / Year1952
Description"In five hours [the ILLIAC] can complete problems which would take the working lifetime of a skilled mathematician. Shown working with it are Miss Ramona J. Russell, computer operator, and Jack O. Neuhaus, research assistant in Psychology." The ILLIAC I was the first computer which was built and owned by a university. It went online on September 22, 1952. It had the same computing power as a handheld calculator would have today, but it weighed five tons! It was 10 feet long, 2 feet wide and 8.5 feet tall. It had a 5K main memory and a 64K drum memory. In January 1948, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees gave $150, 000 for the construction of a computer. John Von Neumann from Princeton University recommended UI build its own computer. Once the ILLIAC I came online, it was only available for use eight hours a day, but eventually, it was made available twenty-four hours a day, six days a week. It was eventually dismantled in 1962.
InterpretationThe ILLIAC I had more computational power in 1956 than all of the computers at Bell Labs. Input to the computer was only possible through five holed paper tape at 100 characters/second, while output was at 60 chars/second or by Cathode Ray Tube Display. In the late fifties, IBM cards were added as input/output devices. More information about the ILLIAC I can be found at
Lesson Plans / ThemesUsing a Calculator; Using a Computer to make a graph
Learning Standards6-10 Mathematics; 13 Science, Technology and Society;
Author or CreatorUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
SourceUniversity of Illinois Archives (RS 39/2/20) from "Byte of History: Computing at the University of Illinois" exhibit, March 1997
Subject / KeywordsComputers; Technology; Education; ILLIAC; International Business Machines (IBM);
Collection PublisherUIUC Digital Imaging & Media Technology Initiative
Further InformationFor any further information related to this record, please contact the Collection Publisher. See for more information about this project.
Rights Management Statement
Resource Identifierari5001
CONTENTdm file name45319201282002_digcomputer.jpg
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