Binary Automatic Computer

What Does Binary Automatic Computer Mean?

The Binary Automatic Computer (BINAC) was one
of the first electronic computers. Developed in 1949 by Eckert-Mauchly
Computer Corporation for Northrop Aircraft Company, it has the distinction of
being the first commercial digital computer in the world as well as the first stored-program
computer in the United States.

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Techopedia Explains Binary Automatic Computer

The Binary Automatic Computer was the only product from the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, as it later became a division of Remington Rand Corp. The computer consisted of two independent central processing units, each having its own 512-word acoustic mercury delay line memory, which was further divided into 16 channels. The channels in turn could hold 32 words of 31 bits. It also made use of approximately 700 vacuum tubes. The associated clock rate was around 4.25 MHz. New data or applications could only be entered into the computer manually, and only in octal with the help of an eight-key keypad. In other words, the input/output for the computer was entirely octal and instructions provided to the computer were absolute machine language. Apart from reset commands and flip-flop commands, the machine literally had no input/output instructions.

The Binary Automatic Computer had no provisions to store decimal digits or characters, but was able to perform high-speed arithmetic on binary numerals. Although the Binary Automatic Computer was an advanced bit-serial binary computer, it was never intended to be used as a general-purpose computer.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.