Howard Aiken was born in 1900. He studied at the University of Wisconsin in Madison and would go on to obtain his Ph.D. in Physics from Harvard in 1939. Aiken would become well known in the computing industry for his invention of a computing device.
IBM’s Harvard Mark I was the computing device that Howard Aiken developed. He was the main engineer behind the product. He wanted to invent a product that would essentially do all the work for him.
The original computer that Aiken developed was actually called an Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator. The computer was later dubbed the Harvard Mark I. The machine was finished in its final form in 1947.
The Aiken computing machine was inspired by another. The machine that Charles Babbage built, Charles Babbage’s Difference Machine, was the computer that Aiken’s original ideas gained first inspiration.
Aiken would go on to receive various awards and recognition. He received the Harry H. Goode Memorial Award in 1964 and went on to receive the IEEE Edison Medal in 1970.
Howard Aiken was an officer in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He would go down in history as the man who was able to pioneer computing and make a substantial difference for IBM laying the groundwork for others to follow his work. However, he did serve his country with equal skill and determination as an officer.