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The application of the Hollerith tabulating machine to Brown's tables of the moon. Offprint

Comrie, Leslie John

Publication Date: 1932
Soft cover
From Jeremy Norman's historyofscience (Novato, CA, U.S.A.)

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Comrie, Leslie John (1893-1950). The application of the Hollerith tabulating machine to Brown's tables of the moon. Offprint from Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 92 (May 1932). [1], [694]-707, [1]pp. 3 plates, text illustrations. 257 x 173 mm. Original gray printed wrappers, slightly worn. Very good. First Separate Edition. Comrie pioneered the use of commercial accounting machines in scientific applications, especially in the production of mathematical tables. The above offprint describes the first use of a punched-card tabulating system in a purely scientific application-calculating the position of the moon at noon and midnight from 1935 to the end of the twentieth century (punched-card tabulators, invented by Herman Hollerith in the 1880s, reigned as the primary means of large-scale data processing prior to the advent of the electronic digital computer). Punching the half-million cards needed for this enormous calculating project took six months, and the calculations, performed at Britain's Nautical Almanac Office, took an additional seven months to complete. The American astronomer E. W. Brown, whose Tables of the Motion of the Moon (1919) supplied the necessary data, was an observer of the process. "Comrie often recalled the 'ecstacies of rapture' with which Brown watched the addition of his own figures at the rate of 20 or 30 a second. The enthusiasm with which Professor Brown described the process of his return to America probably stimulated W. J. Eckert, the leading American pioneer, in the application of these machines to scientific calculations" (Bowden, Faster than Thought, p. 26). Origins of Cyberspace 266. Bookseller Inventory # 38426

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Bibliographic Details

Title: The application of the Hollerith tabulating ...

Publication Date: 1932

Binding: Soft cover

Edition: 1st Edition

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