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09 March

History of Mathematics


A great resource for Math Historians was mentioned on Metafilter recently.  For example, did you know that today is the birthday of Howard Aiken?

Howard Aiken studied at the University of Wisconsin, Madison obtaining a doctorate from Harvard in 1939. While he was a graduate student and an instructor in the Department of Physics at Harvard Aiken began to make plans to build a large computer. These plans were made for a very specific purpose, for Aiken’s research had led to a system of differential equations which had no exact solution and which could only be solved using numerical techniques. However, the amount of hand calculation involved would have been almost prohibitive, so Aiken’s idea was to use an adaptation of the punched card machines which had been developed by Hollerith.

The MacTutor History of Mathematics archive

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