John Presper Eckert, Jr.
Birthplace: Philadelphia, Pa.
ENIAC data translating device—Engineers Eckert and Mauchly invented ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator), the first multipurpose computer, whose completion in 1945 heralded the dawn of the electronic era and provided a prototype for later computers. Although far less powerful than handheld calculators today, in its time ENIAC set speed records with more than 5,000 additions per second. ENIAC weighed about 30 tons, filled an 1,800-square-foot room, and included 6,000 manual switches. (2002)Died: 1995