Guide to the Institute for Advanced Study Computer Project Records

Summary
Collection ID:
NMAH.AC.0401
Creators:
Princeton University. Institute for Advanced Study Computer Project
Dates:
1950-1957.
Languages:
English
Collection is in English.
Physical Description:
0.7 Cubic feet
3 boxes
Repository:
Collection documents the Electronic Computer Project, 1950-1957 at the Institute for Advanced Study. The goal of the project was to build a computer that would be a general-purpose postwar tool for various branches of scientific research.

Scope and Contents
Scope and Contents
The collection includes published reports of the staff of the Electronic Computer Project, monthly progress reports, and reports by individual staff members (sometimes in draft form) on particular problems or pieces of equipment. Numerous drawings of computer components are also included, together with 10 glass photo slides in color of equipment and two slides of personnel (unidentified). A special "computer issue" of Proceedings of the Institute of Radio Engineers (published October, 1953) contains 41 papers on technical aspects of computers.

Biographical / Historical
Biographical / Historical
This material was generated by participants in the IAS Computer Project, 1950-1957. The Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, NJ has long been a center of scholarly work in many disciplines of science by noted researchers (e.g. Albert Einstein). The computer project was initiated there in 1946 by John Von Neumann, a mathematician who had been working on ballistics computations during World War II. He used the first version of the Princeton computer to calculate the results of the thermonuclear reaction of the first H bomb in 1950. In the late 1950s, after Von Neumann's death, the project was terminated. A brief summary of the project and Von Neumann's contribution is found in Chapter 5 of Who Got Einstein's Office? by Edward Regis (Addison Wesley Publishing Co., Inc., 1987.)

Administration
Processing Information
This collection was processed by Don Darroch, Archives Center volunteer.
Author
Don Darroch
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Collection donated by Leon D. Harmon, March 23, 1982.

Using the Collection
Preferred Citation
Institute for Advanced Study Computer Project Records, 1950-1957, Archives Center, National Museum of American History.
Conditions Governing Access
Collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Archives Center cost-recovery and use fees may apply when requesting reproductions.

Custodial History
Custodial History
Transferred to the Archives Center from the Division of Computer, Information & Society on January 22, 1991.

Keywords
Keywords table of terms and types.
Keyword Terms Keyword Types
Computer programming Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Computer science Topic Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Journals (accounts) Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Drawings -- 1950-1960 Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Princeton (N. J.) Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
New Jersey Place Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Reports Type Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
von Neumann, John Personal Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid
Computers, Information and Society, Division of (NMAH, SI). Corporate Name Search Smithsonian Collections Search ArchiveGrid

Repository Contact
Archives Center, National Museum of American History
P.O. Box 37012
Suite 1100, MRC 601
Washington, D.C. 20013-7012
archivescenter@si.edu
http://americanhistory.si.edu/archives