The seeds of the modern computing industry were sewn in wartime by direct government investment in new technology. The ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator) was the first general-purpose, electronic computer that could be programmed to solve a full range of mathematical problems. Shown here are five of the ENIAC’s forty panels, which altogether occupied some 1800 square feet.
Innovations like this grew out the military industrial complex. The ENIAC was built from 1943-1946 by a University of Pennsylvania team led by engineering professors J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly. Computers were soon transformed to serve retailers, manufactures, and consumers.