Topic: United States/Iowa

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Mary Kenneth Keller

United States Biography Computing Women scientists Biography/science and academia Women's History Chicago Catholicism United States/Iowa

Mary Kenneth Keller, B.V.M. (December 17, 1913 – January 10, 1985) was an American Roman Catholic religious sister, educator and pioneer in computer science. She and Irving C. Tang were the first two people to earn a doctorate in computer science in the United States.

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Atanasoff–Berry Computer

United States Computing Computing/Computer hardware Computing/Early computers United States/Iowa

The Atanasoff–Berry computer (ABC) was the first automatic electronic digital computer. Limited by the technology of the day, and execution, the device has remained somewhat obscure. The ABC's priority is debated among historians of computer technology, because it was neither programmable, nor Turing-complete. Conventionally, the ABC would be considered the first electronic ALU (arithmetic logic unit) – which is integrated into every modern processor's design.

Its unique contribution was to make computing faster by being the first to use vacuum tubes to do the arithmetic calculations. Prior to this, slower electro-mechanical methods were used by Konrad Zuse's Z1, and the simultaneously developed Harvard Mark I. The first electronic, programmable, digital machine, the Colossus computer from 1943 to 1945, used similar tube-based technology as ABC.

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