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Maniac I

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Title: Maniac I  
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Subject: Maniac, Los Alamos chess, Klara Dan von Neumann, IAS architecture computers, James H. Pomerene
Collection: Ias Architecture Computers, Vacuum Tube Computers
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Maniac I

The MANIAC (Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator, and Computer or Mathematical Analyzer, Numerator, Integrator, and Computer[1]) was an early computer built under the direction of Nicholas Metropolis at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. It was based on the von Neumann architecture of the IAS, developed by John von Neumann. As with all computers of its era, it was a one of a kind machine that could not exchange programs with other computers (even other IAS machines). Metropolis chose the name MANIAC in the hope of stopping the rash of silly acronyms for machine names,[2] although von Neumann may have suggested the name to him.

The first task assigned to the Los Alamos Maniac was to perform more exact and extensive calculations of the thermonuclear process.[3]

The MANIAC ran successfully in March 1952 and was shut down on July 15, 1958.[4] It was succeeded by MANIAC II in 1957.

A third version MANIAC III was built at the Institute for Computer Research at the University of Chicago in 1964.

A computer named MANIAC I was featured in the science fiction film The Magnetic Monster, although this was not the actual chassis of MANIAC I.

See also


  1. ^ Pang, Tao (1997). An Introduction to Computational Physics.  
  2. ^ Metropolis 1980
  3. ^ Declassified AEC report RR00523
  4. ^ Turing's Cathedral, by George Dyson, 2012, p. 315
  • Brewster, Mike. John von Neumann: MANIAC's Father in BusinessWeek Online, April 8, 2004.
  • Harlow, Francis H. and N. Metropolis. Computing & Computers: Weapons Simulation Leads to the Computer Era, including photos of MANIAC I
  • N. Metropolis and J. Worlton (January 1980), "A Trilogy on Errors in the History of Computing", Annals of the History of Computing 2 (1): 49–55,  
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