John William Mauchly

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John William Mauchly (born August 30, 1907 in Cincinnati , Ohio , † January 8, 1980 in Ambler , Pennsylvania ) was an American physicist and computer engineer. Together with John Presper Eckert he developed the ENIAC , concentrating on the conceptual design and Eckert taking over the hardware development . Furthermore, he was on draft UNIVAC I participated.


Mauchly went to school in Washington, DC . His father was a physicist in the Carnegie Institute's Department of Terrestrial Magnetism . Since Mauchly received a scholarship in 1925, it was possible for him to study at Johns Hopkins University . He began to study mechanical engineering , but his interests changed and he turned to physics . In 1932 he received his doctorate in physics. He then dealt with the analysis of the weather and soon began looking for methods that would enable large amounts of data to be processed as quickly as possible. After teaching at Ursinus College from 1940 , he began to deal more intensively with electronic circuits and their possibilities. He attended courses at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering , where he soon became a teacher himself. He quickly developed his own ideas on how to make computers more efficient until he completed the ENIAC in 1946 together with J. Presper Eckert.

After ENIAC was operational, Mauchly and Eckert left the Moore School to set up the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation .

Since Mauchly adopted many of John Atanasoff's concepts when designing the ENIAC - without paying tribute to him - a patent dispute broke out between Mauchly and Atanasoff. In 1973 this legal dispute went out in favor of Atanasoff.


In 1949, Mauchly received the Franklin Institute's Potts Medal in the Computer and Cognitive Science category . Together with Eckert, he received the Harry Goode Medal of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies in 1966 and, posthumously, the IEEE Computer Society Pioneer Award in 1980 .

The Eckert-Mauchly Award for Computer Architecture of the ACM and IEEE Computer Society is named after him and Eckert.


  • T. Atherton: JW Mauchly and JP Eckert, the Men Who Built ENIAC. In: Electronic World and Wireless World , No. 96, 1990, pp. 541-543.
  • F. Gareth Ashurst: Pioneers of Computing. Muller, London 1983, pp. 109-126.

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