Thomas Haigh

Professor Thomas Haigh has degrees in both computer science (Manchester) and the history of science (University of Pennsylvania). He’s a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and a visiting professor at Siegen University. He has contributed to and authored a number of books on computing, including A New History of Modern Computing (2021) and Exploring the Early Digital (2019).

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First programmable electronic computer

The first computer that could be reconfigured (or programmed) to tackle any computational task was ENIAC, a computer at the University of Pennsylvania that carried out its first calculations on 10 Dec 1945. The computer consisted of many modules, each designed to perform specific mathematical operations or control tasks, and was set up by technicians who rewired the connections between these modules to create a "path" for the data, complete with points where the process could branch or loop. Once set up, the computer would run through the sequence (or program) laid out by the operators automatically, with no human assistance.