The IAS machine was the first electronic digital
computerbuilt by the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS), Princeton, NJ, USA. The paper describing the design of the IAS machine was edited by John von Neumann, (see Von Neumann architecture), a mathematics professor at both Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. The computer was built from 1942 until 1951 under his direction. The IAS was in limited operation in the summer of 1951 and fully operational on June 10 1952.cite web|url=http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/object.cfm?key=35&objkey=31|title=IAS Computer|publisher=National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution|accessdate=2008-06-17]
The machine was a binary computer with a 40 bit word, storing two 20 bit instructions in each word. The memory was 1024 words. Negative numbers were represented in "
two's complement" format. It had two registers: the Accumulator (AC) and Multiplier/Quotient (MQ).
Although some claim the IAS machine was the first design to mix programs and data in a single memory, that had been implemented four years earlier by the
1948Manchester Small Scale Experimental Machine.cite web|url=http://www.computer50.org/mark1/new.baby.html|title=Manchester Baby Computer|]
Von Neumann showed how the combination of instructions and data in one memory could be used to implement loops, by modifying branch instructions when a loop was completed, for example. The resultant demand that instructions and data be placed on the memory later came to be known as the Von Neumann Bottleneck.
While the original design called for using a type of
vacuum tubes called RCA Selectron tubes for the memory, problems with the development of these complex tubes forced the switch to Williams tubes. Nevertheless, it used about 2300 tubes in its circuitry. The addition time was 62 microsecondsand the multiplication time was 713 microseconds. It was an asynchronous machine, meaning that there was no central clock regulating the timing of the instructions. One instruction started executing when the previous one finished.
IAS machine derivatives
Plans for the IAS machine were widely distributed to any schools, businesses, or companies interested in computing machines, resulting in the construction of several derivative computers referred to as "IAS machines," with varying degrees of compatibility across the platform.
Some of these "IAS machines" were:
AVIDAC( Argonne National Laboratory)
CYCLONE( Iowa State University)
*GEORGE (Argonne National Laboratory)
ILLIAC I( University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
MANIAC I( Los Alamos National Laboratory)
MISTIC( Michigan State University)
MUSASINO-1( Musashino, Tokyo, Japan)
Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
ORDVAC( Aberdeen Proving Ground)
SILLIAC( University of Sydney)
WEIZAC( Weizmann Institute)
Von Neumann architecture
* [http://www.cbi.umn.edu/oh/display.phtml?sub=354 Oral history interviews concerning the IAS computer] -- includes individual interviews with Willis H. Ware,
Arthur Burks, Herman Goldstine, Martin Schwarzschild, and others. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota.
* [http://americanhistory.si.edu/collections/comphist/objects/ias.htm The IAS Computer, 1952] - From the
National Museum of American History
* [http://cva.stanford.edu/classes/cs99s/papers/vonneumann-firstdraftedvac.pdf First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC] - Copy of the original draft by
John Von Neumann
* [http://www.computer50.org/mark1/new.baby.html The Manchester Small Scale Experimental Machine "The Baby"] - The first operational stored programme computer.
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