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Crunching Numbers

October 6, 2014

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Profile America — Monday, October 6th. October is a special month in the history of handling data. In a month that holds the anniversaries of the first adding machine and the tentative birth of the Internet, October is also when the first all-electronic calculations were performed on an experimental computer. John Vincent Atanasoff was an associate professor in mathematics and physics at Iowa State College. Beginning in September 1939 with a $650 grant from the school, and with the help of a top engineering student, he created the first electronic digital computing device. The computer was no laptop: it was about the size of a desk and weighed more than 700 pounds. In the U.S. today, there are over 13,000 establishments manufacturing computers and other electronic products, with a value of nearly $340 billion. Profile America is in its17th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.

Sources:
Kane's Famous First Facts, 3438
Early Computer History: http://history-computer.com/ModernComputer/Electronic/Atanasoff.html
J.V. Atanasoff biography: http://www.columbia.edu/~td2177/JVAtanasoff/JVAtanasoff.html
2012 Economic Census data: http://factfinder2.census.gov/faces/tableservices/jsf/pages/productview.xhtml?pid=ECN_2012_US_00A1&prodType=table NAICS334


Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Public Information Office | Last Revised: September 26, 2014