ABC: The Atanasoff-Berry Computer

The early days of the computer age stretch back into the 1930s, when John Atanasoff PhD 1930 and his graduate student, Clifford Berry, first created a machine to help them solve linear equations. Atanasoff was a relatively young professor at Iowa State College when he and Berry built their device. It relied memory drums for storage, and people used punch cards to input data. The first ABC was completed in 1942 — not long before Atanasoff left for war service with the navy. Alumni Park honors Atanasoff’s invention with a sculpture of a memory drum and punch cards, legible to anyone who speaks fluent binary.