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Skip Derra, News Service, (515) 294-4917


AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University President Martin Jischke and the Atanasoff-Berry Computer replica will be in the Quad Cities on Friday, Jan. 30.

Jischke will speak to the North Scott Rotary at the Steeple Gate Inn in Eldridge at noon. Jischke will discuss the role ISU plays in Iowa's economic development. Jischke will also visit Davenport Central High School and speak to students at 1:30 p.m..

As part of President Jischke's visit to the Quad Cities, ISU will display an authentic working replica of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), the first electronic digital computer. There will be a public viewing of the replica from 5-7 p.m., at the Radisson Quad City Plaza Hotel in Davenport, which coincides with an ISU Alumni Association reception.

The original ABC was invented by John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry at Iowa State during 1939-42. As he grappled with computing concepts, Atanasoff took a now famous drive from Ames to a road house in Rock Island, where wrote he down several basic principles on which his computing machine would be based. These principles became the backbone of modern computing.

Work on the original ABC was interrupted by World War II. The ABC was never patented and eventually was scavenged for parts. The replica was built to honor Atanasoff and Berry.

The Quad Cities is the fifth stop on the replica's Iowa tour. It has been displayed in Ames, Ottumwa, Dubuque and Cedar Rapids. Its formal unveiling was Oct. 8 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Other Iowa stops for the replica include Waterloo and Sioux City. The replica will be on display at Augustana College in Rock Island from Jan. 31 to Feb. 20.

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.

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