The History of Harvard Mark 1: A Complete Guide

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The Harvard Mark 1 was the first computer that could be programmed to solve any number of problems, rather than built to solve one specific thing.

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Howard Aiken (see the biography of Howard Aiken) initially designed the Mark 1 in 1937 while still a graduate student at Harvard.

When was the Harvard Mark 1 invented?

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It used punched tape and a series of switches and drive shafts to automatically perform calculations and was also known as the IBM Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator.

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What is the Harvard Mark 1?

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The Mark 1 was programmed using punched tape and punched cards, a typical method of programming early computers.

How was the Harvard Mark 1 programmed?

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It could calculate 3 sets of addition or subtraction per second. Multiplication and division took longer, while more complicated functions required more than a minute.

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What was the Harvard Mark 1 capable of?

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