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The basic principle of the modern computer—the idea of controlling the machine's operations by means of a program of coded instructions stored in the computer's memory—was conceived by Alan Turing.
Suppose that a device within the scanner consists of a dial with a finite number of positions, labelled 'a', 'b', 'c', and so on, each position counting as a different state.Harry Huskey, the electronic engineer who subsequently drew up the first detailed hardware designs for the EDVAC, said that the information in von Neumann's report was of no help to him in this.3 Turing, in contrast, supplied detailed circuit designs, full specifications of hardware units, specimen programs in machine code, and even an estimate of the cost of building the ACE.Part I of 'Alan Turing, Father of the Modern Computer' provides an overview of Turing's many major contributions to the development of the computer and computing—including his pioneering work in the areas now called Artificial Intelligence and Artificial Life. This is simply one of the best tales in the history of computers.As anyone who can operate a personal computer knows, the way to make the machine perform some desired task is to open the appropriate program stored in the computer's memory. The earliest large-scale electronic digital computers, the British Colossus (1944) and the American ENIAC (1945), did not store programs in memory.To set up these computers for a fresh task, it was necessary to modify some of the machine's wiring, re-routing cables by hand and setting switches.
This work had a profound influence on the development in the 1940s of the electronic stored-program digital computer, an influence often neglected or denied by historians of the computer. It consists of a scanner and a limitless memory-tape.