News Service


Tom Ligouri, Engineering, (515) 294-2338
Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- An authentic working replica of the first electronic digital computer will be on display from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 25, in the Terrace Cafe of the State Historical Building, Des Moines. The replica is part of a reception being held by Iowa State University and University of Iowa officials for Iowa legislators.

Iowa State University President Martin Jischke and University of Iowa President Mary Sue Coleman will be at the reception, as will ISU Engineering Dean James Melsa and Iowa Engineering Dean Richard Miller. The display of the ABC replica is part of the two engineering schools celebration of National Engineers Week, Feb. 22 - 28. Other projects highlighted by the two universities include C2, Iowa State's virtual reality room, and the National Driving Simulator at the University of Iowa.

The original ABC was invented by John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State during 1939-42. Work on the original ABC was interrupted by World War II. The ABC was never patented and eventually scavenged for parts. The replica was built to honor Atanasoff and Berry. The replica was constructed over the past three years by a team of scientists, technicians and students at Ames Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy facility at Iowa State.

The replica is currently touring several Iowa cities. It has been displayed in Ames, Ottumwa, Dubuque, Cedar Rapids, the Quad Cities and Sioux City. Its formal unveiling was Oct. 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Other Iowa stops for the replica include Waterloo and Mason City.

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