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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.
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.