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Practical applications of the punched card method in colleges and universities

Baehne, G. W.

Published by Columbia University Press, New York, 1935
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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Baehne, George Walter, ed. Practical applications of the punched card method in colleges and universities. New York: Columbia University Press, 1935. Original red cloth stamped in black, gilt and blind. xxii [2], 442 [2]pp. 2 plates, 2 folding tables, text illustrations. 254 x 177 mm. One corner a little bumped, but very good. First Edition of the first book in English to discuss the application of punched-card methods to scientific research. Punched-card tabulating systems, which developed from the tabulating machines invented by Herman Hollerith, were originally intended for commercial and statistical purposes; they were designed to process information by performing the same operation on all the records in a data file (deck of punched cards) before proceeding to the next operation. The machines as originally conceived were not well suited to scientific computation, which typically involves the performance of a sequence of operations on a single datum. However, in the 1930s IBM began producing punched-card accounting machines with expanded capabilities (such as subtraction and multiplication) and greater versatility. Some scientists, particularly astronomers, began using these machines to solve complex problems. One of the contributors was Wallace J. Eckert, whose "Miscellaneous research applications: Astronomy" (pp. 389-96) describes his pioneering use of punched-card machines to perform astronomical calculations using equipment supplied by IBM for the purpose. Eckert later expanded on this topic in his Punched Card Methods in Scientific Computation). This collection of essays in the use of punched-card methods in academic research and administration was edited by an employee of IBM as a way to increase leasing of IBM tabulating machines and especially the proprietary punched cards that they used. Much like the razor-and-blades phenomenon, the profit in the IBM punched-card tabulating machines lay in the sale of the punched cards rather than in the machines themselves, which were typically leased rather than sold. The high profits IBM made in the sale of punched cards was a primary reason why the company lagged behind Eckert and Mauchly's Remington Rand UNIVAC in developing electronic digital computers, which would eventually make punched-card tabulation systems obsolete. Origins of Cyberspace 219. Bookseller Inventory # 39487

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Practical applications of the punched card ...

Publisher: Columbia University Press, New York

Publication Date: 1935

Binding: Hardcover

Edition: 1st Edition

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