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Electronic Computer Project (ECP)

Starting in late 1945, John von Neumann, Professor in the School of Mathematics, and a group of engineers worked at the Institute to design, build, and program an electronic digital computer—the physical realization of Alan Turing’s Universal Machine, theoretically conceived in 1936. In the words of George Dyson, author of Turing's Cathedral, the stored-program computer broke the distinction between numbers that mean things and numbers that do things.

Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor, gives a talk to incoming scholars on the history and mission of the Institute during Welcome Day on September 25, 2017. 

Willis Ware accepted a position with the Institute for Advanced Study’s Electronic Computer Project (ECP) on May 13, 1946, and began work on June 1. He was the fourth engineer hired to work on the project—and, at his death on November 22, 2013,...

Julian Himely Bigelow, who joined the IAS Electronic Computer Project as Chief Engineer in March of 1946, was appointed to a Permanent Membership in the School of Mathematics in December 1950 and remained a Member of the School of Natural...

The history of digital computing can be divided into an Old Testament whose prophets, led by Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, supplied the logic, and a New Testament whose prophets, led by John von Neumann, built the machines. Alan Turing, whose “On...

This sketch of earlier attempts to bring biology to the Institute for Advanced Study is not a history. I have not dug into the archives to find official documents and exact dates. I am only recording my own fallible memories of events that I...