Biography of Howard Hathaway Aiken (1900-1973)

Mathematician and American engineer born on March 9, 1900 in Hoboken, New Jersey, and died on March 14, 1973, in San Luis, Missouri, who built Mark I, the first modern electronic calculator.

He studied engineering at the University of Wisconsin and completed the Harvard doctorate in 1939. After spending several months as a teacher, he joined the services of the U.S. Navy and undertook the construction of the first modern calculator, Mark I, which came into operation in 1944. Its gigantic dimensions (15.3 m long, 2.4 m in height, 800 km of cable and more than 3 million connections) were intended to be only five operations: the four arithmetic operations and use of the previous result. It was through the use of punch cards. In 1947 he built a fully electronic model, called Mark II.

Aiken was the author of numerous research in electronics and data processing, and is considered, along with Konrad Zuse, as a pioneer of the modern electronic computer.