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then and now

Tech Throwback Thursday: IT Then and Now

May 04, 2015
By Alexander Lucas

As long as computers and networks have existed, the world has needed qualified people to operate them, from early punchcard programmers to today’s data architects. This week's Tech Throwback Thursday is a video tribute to the past and present of information technology. Watch the video:


As some additional background about ENIAC, it was technically neither the first electronic computer nor the first programmable one. However, it is widely considered the first general use computer as it was both fully electronic and fully programmable. Here are some other key facts about ENIAC:

    • ENIAC cost $400,000 to build in 1946, the equivalent of $4.24 billion today
    • It took 200,000 man hours of work over 30 months to construct
    • It contained more than 18,000 vacuum tubes
    • ENIAC occupied a 30' x 60' room and took over 1,800 square feet

ENIAC, like its British contemporary Colossus, was designed to assist in war efforts during World War II. The British built Colossus primarily to break German cypher encryption, while the U.S. designed ENIAC to calculate artillery firing tables.

For more information about ENIAC, check out this great New York Times article from 1947. Also, read our related article, A Turing Test retrospective (Turing worked on Colossus during World War II). 

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