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The Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) is a set of computers made by the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Company, and later, by Sperry/Rand, in the 1950s. The UNIVAC was preceded by the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) and Binary Automatic Computer (BINAC), made in the 1940s.
UNIVAC machines were huge mainframe computers the size of vehicles or large pieces of equipment. The first model, UNIVAC 1, cost $1 million in 1950s-era money. The original UNIVAC was developed for the U.S. Census Bureau, but ended up being used to accurately predict the election of Dwight Eisenhower in the year 1952. Successive UNIVAC designs built on the original design, which operated at around 10,000 operations per second.
In many ways, UNIVAC represents the birth of the modern computers that went from room-sized mainframes to small laptop and desktop computers just several decades later. Due to phenomena like Moore's law, which predicted doubling transistor density, computers quickly became smaller, faster and more capable. Within a generation of their production, UNIVAC models became profoundly obsolete, and are now museum pieces that show some of the impressive IT advancements that have been made over the last century.