minimum 700 words of text! (without title and references)no plagiarism! USE ONLY THE ATTACHED DOCUMENTS AS REFERENCES!! 1. APA FORMAT2. Write this essay as the outline below3. Citations are ALL from the articles uploaded belowIntroduction(a)Intro paragraphs introduce your topic as well as set up your argument, or thesis.(b)Include your thesis, or what you think might be your thesis, here. Typically outlining occurs inthe prewriting stages of writing an essay, so you don’t have to have your argument completelyfleshed out already. A thesis develops (and often changes!) during the writing process.2.The Body of the essay presents your argument and evidence in detail.(a)Body Paragraph 1 (first topic sentence goes here)i.The first body paragraph should be about the first part of your argument.ii.Again, outlining is a form of prewriting, so if you don’t have your topic sentences writtenout yet, simply having the subject of your first argument is fine, too.iii.Include citations to the textual evidence that you’ll use to support your argument.iv.Write down any of your analysis of the above passages/quotes.(b)Subsequent Body Paragraphs. The number of body paragraphs depends on each essay’s argu-ment and the word length of the assignment.i.You can outline the rest of your body paragraphs in the same way as the format listedabove for Body Paragraph 1.ii.Each following paragraph should include its own topic sentence.iii.Your body paragraphs should all be connected; the arguments presented in your bodyparagraphs should all build off of one another.3.Conclusion
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Copyright 1997. MIT Press.
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2
Why Build Computers?: The Military Role in Computer Research
On the battlefield of the future, enemy forces will be located, tracked, and targeted almost instantaneously through the use of data links, computer assisted intelligence evaluation,
and automated fire control. With first round kill probabilities approaching certainty, and with surveillance devices that can continually track the enemy, the need for large forces
to fix the opposition physically will be less important.… [A]n improved communicative system … would permit commanders to be continually aware of the entire battlefield
panorama down to squad and platoon level.… Today, machines and technology are permitting economy of manpower on the battlefield.… But the future offers even more
possibilities for economy. I am confident the American people expect this country to take full advantage of its technology—to welcome and applaud the developments that will
replace wherever possible the man with the machine.… With cooperative effort, no more than 10 years should separate us from the automated battlefield. 1
—General William Westmoreland, former Commander­in­Chief of U.S. forces in Vietnam, 1969
For two decades, from the early 1940s until the early 1960s, the armed forces of the United States were the single most important driver of digital computer
development. Though most of the research work took place at universities and in commercial firms, military research organizations such as the Office of Naval
Research, the Communications Security Group (known by its code name OP­20­G), and the Air Comptroller’s Office paid for it. Military users became the proving
ground for initial concepts and prototype machines. As the commercial computer industry began to take shape, the armed forces and the defense industry served as
the major marketplace. Most historical accounts recognize the financial importance of this backing in early work on computers. But few, to date, have grasped the
deeper significance of this military involvement.
At the end of World War II, the electronic digital computer
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technology we take for granted today was still in its earliest infancy. It was expensive, failure­prone, and ill­understood. Digital computers were seen as calculators,
useful primarily for accounting and advanced scientific research. An alternative technology, analog computing, was relatively cheap, reliable (if not terribly accurate),
better developed, and far better supported by both industrial and academic institutions. For reasons we will explore below, analog computing was more easily adapted
to the control applications that constituted the major uses of computers in battle. Only in retrospect does it appear obvious that command, control, and
communications should be united within a single technological frame (to use Wiebe Bijker’s term) centered around electronic digital computers. 2
Why, then, did military agencies provide such lavish funding for digital computer research and development? What were their near­term goals and long­term visions,
and how were these coupled to the grand strategy and political culture of the Cold War? How were those goals and visions shaped over time, as computers moved
out of laboratories and into rapidly changing military systems?
I will argue that military support for computer research was rarely benign or disinterested—as many historians, taking at face value the public postures of funding
agencies and the reports of project leaders, have assumed. Instead, practical military objectives guided technological development down particular channels, increased
its speed, and helped shape the structure of the emerging computer industry. I will also argue, however, that the social relations between military agencies and civilian
researchers were by no means one­sided. More often than not it was civilians, not military planners, who pushed the application of computers to military problems.
Together, in the context of the Cold War, they enrolled computers as supports for a far­reaching discourse of centralized command and control—as an enabling,
infrastructural technology for the closed­world political vision.
The Background: Computers in World War II
During World War II, virtually all computer research (like most scientific research and development) was funded directly by the War Department as part of the war
effort. But there are particularly intimate links between early digital computer research, key military needs, and the political fortunes of science and engineering after the
war. These connections had their beginnings in problems of ballistics.
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One of the Allies’ most pressing problems in World War II was the feeble accuracy of antiaircraft guns. Airplanes had evolved enormously since World War I, gaining
speed and maneuverability. Defense from devastating Nazi bombing raids depended largely on ground­based antiaircraft weapons. But judging how far ahead of the
fast­moving, rapidly turning planes to aim their guns was a task beyond the skills of most gunners. Vast amounts of ammunition were expended to bring down a
distressingly small number of enemy bombers. The German V­I “buzz bombs” that attacked London in 1944 made a solution even more urgent. The problem was
solved by fitting the guns with “gun directors,” a kind of electromechanical analog computer able to calculate the plane’s probable future position, and
“servomechanisms,” devices that controlled the guns automatically based on the gun director’s output signals. 3
Building the gun directors required trajectory tables in which relations between variables such as the caliber of the gun, the size of the shell, and the character of its fuse
were calculated out. Ballistics calculations of this sort have a long history in warfare, dating almost to the invention of artillery. Galileo, for example, invented and
marketed a simple calculating aid called a “gunner’s compass” that allowed artillerymen to measure the angle of a gun and compute, on an ad hoc basis, the amount of
powder necessary to fire a cannonball a given distance.4 As artillery pieces became increasingly powerful and complex, precalculated ballistics tables became the
norm. The computation of these tables grew into a minor military industry. During World War I, young mathematicians such as Norbert Wiener and Oswald Veblen
worked on these problems at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground. Such mathematicians were called “computers.”5
In World War II, with its constant and rapid advances in gunnery, Aberdeen’s work became a major bottleneck in fielding new artillery and antiaircraft systems. Both
Wiener and Veblen—by then distinguished professors at MIT and Princeton, respectively—once again made contributions. Wiener worked on the antiaircraft gunnery
problem at its most general level. His wartime studies culminated in the theory of cybernetics (a major precursor of cognitive psychology). Veblen returned to
Aberdeen’s ballistics work as head of the scientific staff of the Ballistics Research Laboratory (BRL). Just as in World War I, Veblen’s group employed hundreds of
people, this time mostly women, to compute tables by hand using desk calculators.
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Page 46
These women, too, were called “computers.” Only later, and gradually, was the name transferred to the machines. 6
But alongside them Aberdeen also employed the largest analog calculator of the 1930s: the differential analyzer, invented by MIT electrical engineer Vannevar Bush.
Vannevar Bush: Creating an Infrastructure for Scientific Research
Bush invented the differential analyzer at MIT in 1930 to assist in the solution of equations associated with large electric power networks. The machine used a system
of rotating disks, rods, and gears powered by electric motors to solve complex differential equations (hence its name). The BRL immediately sought to copy the
device, with improvements, completing its own machine in 1935 at Aberdeen. At the same time, another copy was constructed at the University of Pennsylvania’s
Moore School of Engineering in Philadelphia, this one to be used for general­purpose engineering calculation. The Moore School’s 1930s collaboration with the BRL,
each building a differential analyzer under Bush’s supervision, was to prove extremely important. During World War II, the two institutions would collaborate again to
build the ENIAC, America’s first full­scale electronic digital computer.
Bush was perhaps the single most important figure in American science during World War II, not because of his considerable scientific contributions but because of his
administrative leadership. As war approached, Bush and some of his distinguished colleagues had used their influence to start organizing the scientific community for
the coming effort. After convincing President Roosevelt that close ties between the government and scientists would be critical to this war, they established the
National Defense Research Committee (NDRC) in 1940, with Bush serving as chair. When the agency’s mandate to conduct research but not development on
weapons systems proved too restrictive, Bush created and took direction of an even larger organization, the development­oriented Office of Scientific Research and
Development (OSRD), which subsumed the NDRC.7 The OSRD coordinated and supervised many of the huge science and engineering efforts mobilized for World
War II. By 1945 its annual spending exceeded $100 million; the prewar total for military R&D had been about $23 million.8
Academic and industrial collaboration with the military under the
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Page 47
OSRD was critically important in World War II. Research on radio, radar, the atomic bomb, submarines, aircraft, and computers all moved swiftly under its
leadership. Bush’s original plans called for a decentralized research system in which academic and industrial scientists would remain in their home laboratories and
collaborate at a distance. As the research effort expanded, however, this approach became increasingly unwieldy, and the OSRD moved toward a system of large
central laboratories.
Contracts with universities varied, but under most of them the university provided laboratory space, management, and some of the scientific personnel for large,
multidisciplinary efforts. The Radio Research Laboratory at Harvard employed six hundred people, more of them from California institutions than from Harvard itself.
MIT’s Radiation Laboratory, the largest of the university research programs, ultimately employed about four thousand people from sixty­nine different academic
institutions. 9 Academic scientists went to work for industrial and military research groups, industrial scientists assisted universities, and the military’s weapons and
logistics experts and liaison officers were frequent visitors to every laboratory. The war effort thus brought about the most radical disciplinary mixing, administrative
centralization, and social reorganization of science and engineering ever attempted in the United States.
It would be almost impossible to overstate the long­term effects of this enormous undertaking on American science and engineering. The vast interdisciplinary effort
profoundly restructured scientific research communities. It solidified the trend to science­based industry—already entrenched in the interwar years—but it added the
new ingredient of massive government funding and military direction. MIT, for example, “emerged from the war with a staff twice as large as it had had before the war,
a budget (in current dollars) four times as large, and a research budget ten times as large—85 percent from the military services and their nuclear weaponeer, the
AEC.”10 Eisenhower famously named this new form the ”military­industrial complex,” but the nexus of institutions is better captured by the concept of the “iron
triangle” of self­perpetuating academic, industrial, and military collaboration.11
Almost as important as the institutional restructuring was the creation of an unprecedented experience of community among scientists and engineers. Boundaries
between scientific and engineering disciplines were routinely transgressed in the wartime labs, and scientists
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Page 48
found the chance to apply their abilities to create useful devices profoundly exciting. For example, their work on the Manhattan Project bound the atomic physicists
together in an intellectual and social brotherhood whose influence continued to be felt into the 1980s. Radiation Laboratory veterans protested vigorously when the lab
was to be abruptly shut down in December 1945 as part of postwar demobilization; they could not believe the government would discontinue support for such a
patently valuable source of scientific ideas and technical innovations. Their outcry soon provoked MIT, supported by the Office of Naval Research (ONR), to locate a
successor to the Rad Lab in its existing Research Laboratory of Electronics. 12 Connections formed during the war became the basis, as we will see over and over
again, for enduring relationships between individuals, institutions, and intellectual areas.
Despite his vast administrative responsibilities, Bush continued to work on computers early in the war. He had, in fact, begun thinking in 1937–38 about a possible
electronic calculator based on vacuum tubes, a device he called the Rapid Arithmetical Machine. Memoranda were written and a research assistant was engaged. But
Bush dropped the project as war brought more urgent needs. His assistant, Wilcox Overbeck, continued design work on the machine, but he too was finally forced to
give up the project when he was drafted in 1942. Most of Overbeck’s work focused on tube design, since Bush was concerned that the high failure rates of existing
vacuum tubes would render the Rapid Arithmetical Machine too unreliable for practical use. Possibly because of this experience, Bush opposed fully electronic
computer designs until well after the end of World War II.13
Bush did, however, perfect a more powerful version of the differential analyzer, known as the Rockefeller Differential Analyzer (after its funding source) at MIT in
1942. This device could be programmed with punched paper tape and had some electronic components. Though committed to analog equipment and skeptical of
electronics, he kept abreast of the Moore School’s ENIAC project, and the universe of new possibilities opened up by computers intrigued him.14
Thus it so happened that the figure most central to World War II science was also the inventor of the prewar period’s most important computer technology. Bush’s
laboratory at MIT had established a tradition of analog computation and control engineering—
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Page 49
not, at the time, separate disciplines—at the nation’s most prestigious engineering school. This tradition, as we will see, weighed against the postwar push to build
digital machines. Simultaneously, though, the national science policies Bush helped create had the opposite effect. The virtually unlimited funding and interdisciplinary
opportunities they provided encouraged new ideas and new collaborations, even large and expensive ones whose success was far from certain. Such a project was
the Moore School’s Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC), the first American electronic digital computer.
The ENIAC Project
Even with the help of Bush’s differential analyzer, compiling ballistics tables for antiaircraft weapons and artillery involved tedious calculation. Tables had to be
produced for every possible combination of gun, shell, and fuse; similar tables were needed for the (analog) computing bombsight and for artillery pieces. Even with
mechanical aids, human “computers” made frequent mistakes, necessitating time­consuming error­checking routines. The BRL eventually commandeered the Moore
School’s differential analyzer as well. Still, with two of these machines, the laboratory fell further and further behind in its work.
“The automation of this process was … the raison d’être for the first electronic digital computer,” wrote Herman Goldstine, co­director of the ENIAC project. The
best analog computers, even those built during the war, were only “about 50 times faster than a human with a desk machine. None of these [analog devices were]
sufficient for Aberdeen’s needs since a typical firing table required perhaps 2,000–4,000 trajectories. … The differential analyzer required perhaps 750 hours—30
days–to do the trajectory calculations for a table.” 15 (To be precise, however, these speed limitations were due not to the differential analyzer’s analog
characteristics, but to its electromechanical nature. Electronic equipment, performing many functions at the speed of light, could be expected to provide vast
improvements. As Bush’s RDA had demonstrated, electronic components could be used for analog as well as digital calculation. Thus nothing in Aberdeen’s situation
dictated a digital solution to the computation bottleneck.)
The Moore School started research on new ways of automating the
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