Howard Aiken

howard-aikenBorn in 1900, Howard Aiken was an influential pioneer in the world of computing. A graduate of the University of Wisconsin, he earned a doctorate from Harvard in 1939. While a graduate student he began plans to create a large computer. His first efforts working with IBM produced the ASCC computer, which was completed in 1943.

The machine was moved to Harvard University in May 1944, where it was renamed the Harvard Mark I. There he met Grace Hopper, who would later help him design the Harvard Mark II, one of the first completely electronic computers. After it’s completion in 1947, he worked on a series of computers there all the way to the Mark IV in 1952. Aiken thought only six electronic digital computers would be required to satisfy the computing needs of the U.S. He was given several awards for his contributions to computing.

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