During World War II, the U.S. Army had to calculate complex ballistic tables and unravel the wartime code. They need an all-electronic computer to do this work at electronic speed. In 1942, physicist John Mauchly proposed a machine on these lines and built an electronic numerical integrator and computer, or ENIAC, over the next three years. 75 years later, a man put ENIAC’s “data cable” on the GIF animation is circulating on the Internet. A Twitter handle dedicated to older computers decided to get involved.

This Twitter account called Tube Time explains the meaning of this large computer and how it works. “So this GIF has been circulating, and the title is’Data Cables on Computers in 1945′. But what computer? What kind of data? Let’s find out,” it said.

The University of Pennsylvania took out the GIF from this video, which is an introduction to the world’s first computer. The university stated that ENIAC stores information in the form of electrons trapped in vacuum tubes, making it the first all-electronic, general-purpose digital computer. It is an improvement from the early mechanical computer, because the old computer is essentially a gear-driven abacus.

But how does this huge machine operate? Tube Time provides some insights and resource materials, including operating manuals.

At first, the operator could not program ENIAC, at least not in the modern sense. What they did was connect the modules together, like a room-sized modular synthesizer. The computer is more like an FPGA, and it requires the on-site programmer to configure the integrated circuit in the field, rather than the CPU. Since this computer is distributed over a large area, the floor plan looks like this.

Going back to the GIF, it shows a person inserting a large “data cable” into the panel. Tube Time says it appears to be the “number of the front panel of the menu”. 1″ is marked on the floor plan, and the connector is marked as “IBM Plug (To Portable Function Table)”.

ENIAC has three portable function tables. “You can unplug them from the panel and hook up the connectors, a bit like an air pump, and then transfer the entire device to a different front panel, depending on how you configure the machine,” Tube Time said. The function table receives the decimal pulse from the computer, uses the counter circuit to select the knob of a specific row, and spit the value of that row back to the computer.

If you want to read the entire operation manual by yourself, please see here.

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Scientists believe that after launch, ENIAC may perform more calculations in ten years than all mankind did at that time.