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The processor is the "brain" of the computer, controlling it in much the same way that the human brain controls the body. Most people don't believe that the com­ puter's "brain" has any real intelligence, but researchers in the growing field of artificial intelligence are developing machines that do ex­ hibit intelligent behavior. We will discuss artificial intelligence in Chapter 1 6 , but now we will look at how the processor works. The Basic Computer Processing Cycle Computers perform only simple operations, but they do so with great speed and accuracy.

Checked. and filed half a millton Aiken and the Harvard Mark I cards per day . ,.. If Babbage had lived 75 years later, I would have been out of a job. Howard Aiken The punched-card equipment of the 1 930s was simply too slow to perform the massive computa­ tions in many mathematical and scientific prob­ lems. In 1939 Howard Aiken of Harvard Univer­ sity began work on a machine to perform these calculations faster. IBM provided Aiken with sub­ stantial support, and the Harvard Mark I was completed in 1944, the date historians generally call the dawn of the modern computer age.

The massive task was handled by a production Powers's contribution was the simultaneous punching machine. This device allowed an oper­ ator, after typing in data, to check and correct the data before it was actually punched onto cards. With earlier card-punching equipment, if an error was made the entire card had to be repunched-a costly and time-consuming procedure. The Cen­ sus Bureau ordered 300 of Powers's machines for the 1 9 1 0 census. Powers left the Census Bureau in 1 9 1 1 to form the Powers Accounting Machine Company.

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