Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Nov. 15, 1996

ABC replica hits the road

by Skip Derra
Even before the last wire is soldered and bolt turned, the ABC replica will be on the road. The replica, a full-size model of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, will make its first public appearance at Supercomputing '96 in Pittsburgh on Nov. 18.

When completed, the replica will be a working model of the computer that Iowa State professor John V. Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry built from 1939 to 1942. The original ABC was the first electronic digital computer.

The replica will be unveiled by Provost John Kozak at a press conference opening Supercomputing '96. The conference is co-sponsored by the Association for Computing Machinery and the Institute for Electrical and Electronic Engineers.

The replica also will be featured in a history of computing exhibit at the conference. While it will be part of a history exhibit, the ABC's impact is still felt to this day, said Ames Lab computational scientist and ISU associate professor John Gustafson.

"The original ABC included many of the basic computing principles still in use today," Gustafson said.

Gustafson and other replica team members have been building the replica for more than a year. Team members have had only fragmentary documentation to go on and are painstakingly making the replica as true to the original as possible.

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