The Electronic Computer Project at IAS

Materials from the Archives

The Electronic Computer Project (ECP) that was based at the Institute from 1945 to 1957 produced one of the world’s first large computers, and the very first with a stored-program design. 

The project was led by IAS Professor John von Neumann, who made the ECP reports, describing the specifications and design principles for the machine, freely and widely available and placed all the ideas for the project in the public domain rather than patenting them, a project that promoted the ideals of Open Access long before such a notion even existed.

This exhibit marks the publication of Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson in March 2012. Dyson did extensive research in the collections held by the Institute’s Archives during his stay as a Director’s Visitor in 2002-03 and in the years since, giving us a much richer and deeper understanding of this important chapter in Institute history.

For a profile of the Electronic Computer Project, see The illustrations are all from the Shelby White and Leon Levy Archives Center at the Institute. For more information, please call 609-734-8375 or email