Computability in Europe 2008
Logic and Theory of Algorithms

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Special Session Talk:
A week-end off. The first extensive number-theoretical computation on the ENIAC.

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Author(s): Liesbeth De Mol and Maarten Bullynck


The first  extensive number-theoretical computation run on the world's
first digital electronic computer, the ENIAC, is reconstructed. The problem,
computing the exponent of 2 modulo a prime, was set up on the ENIAC during a
week-end in July 1946 by the number-theorist D.H. Lehmer, with help from his
wife Emma and John Mauchly. Important aspects of the ENIAC's design are
presented and a reconstruction of the implementation of the problem on the
ENIAC is discussed in its salient points.

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