Happy ENIAC Day: Today Is The 65th Anniversary Of The First Computer, Developed At The University of Pennsylvania In 1946

ENIAC was 1,000 times faster than all other contemporary electro-mechanical machines.
(Photo courtesy Explore PA History)

Philadelphia City Council has officially declared today, February, 15 as “ENIAC Day,” celebrating the 65th anniversary of the historic computer’s dedication at Penn, and the beginning of the digital age that it helped to usher in.

The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, was built to calculate ballistic trajectories for the Army during World War Two.

Weighing 30 tons and employing more than 18,000 vacuum tubes, the “Giant Brain” took two years to build at a cost of $500,000 (nearly $6 million in 2008, adjusted for inflation).

City Council declared today “a day on which the City shall celebrate the use of computers and advances and digital technology, and seek to bridge the digital divide throughout Philadelphia, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the nation.”

That’s (obviously) a celebration we can get behind.

Listen to University of Pennsylvania computer scientist Mitch Marcus and author Jane Smiley, biographer of digital pioneer John Atanasoff, discuss ENIAC here. And follow ENIAC on Twitter (seriously) although you’ll need to translate from binary code to text.

And stay tuned for more Philadelphia science celebrations at the upcoming first-ever Philadelphia Science Festival, April 15-28, at the Franklin Institute and other locations around the city.

Happy Birthday ENIAC [The ENIAC]

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