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May172006

A Look Back: Brainy Computer

This “brainy computer” made its debut in the May, 1955 issue of Popular Mechanics. It can perform a whopping 15,000 arithmetical operations a second — or a billion in less than 24 hours — and was claimed to be “the equivalent of a thousand persons calculating on paper for a lifetime”.

Billed by its makers as the smartest electronic brain ever built is a giant computer called the NORC, for Naval Ordnance Research Calculator. The NORC was designed for high-speed calculation heretofore impossible because of the time involved.

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