ORDVAC, early electronic computer

ORDVAC, early electronic computer

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Credit: US ARMY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: ORDVAC (Ordnance Discrete Variable Automatic Computer). ORDVAC, an early electronic computer, seen here shortly after its installation in 1952. ORDVAC was designed and built by the University of Illinois for the US Army's Ballistics Research Laboratory (BRL) to replace an earlier digital calculator, ENIAC. ORDVAC was one of the first flexible general-purpose machines, and was used to solve ballistics calculations and weapons systems evaluations. During the night the University of Illinois operated it by telephone, making it one of the first computers to be operated remotely. The ruler block on the ground gives a sense of scale.

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