BEGINNING OF DIGITAL ELECTRONIC COMPUTING
Professor Burks, Ladies and Gentlemen:
For my appearance here, I must thank the Computing Department
of the University of Michigan who are having a series of lectures on
this, their 25th year of teaching computing.
I am very gratified that accident or fate, what is the
difference, have placed me at the beginning of this great adventure.
I felt that I was very well informed of the great need of a
good computer for mathematics and all of science, for technology and
business, but the accomplishments of our computers are much greater
than I expected. For the future I believe that their reasonable
extentions will show an even larger impact on all fields, including
logic and what our minds think.
Which reminds me of a story! About twenty-two years ago, the
hierarchy of Aerojet General was ensconced in a hotel somewhere
between Los Angeles and San Francisco in a think-tank atmosphere,
thinking up new concepts for our future. After dinner one evening,
there was a period of some hilarity, but I noticed that it quieted
when the executive vice-president arose and said that he had an
important announcement. He pointed out that although Aerojet had a
very important position in Space, it did not have a Space Division.
"Now Aerojet General would have a Space Division and the head of that
division would be Atanasoff," whereupon he sat down.
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