According to this comment on Quantum Computing StackExchange,

For a decade, until a 1955 lightning strike, ENIAC may have run more calculations than all mankind had done up to that point

I search from some sources with a quick google search, and found this article, saying more or less the same thing:

Penn professor Irving Brainerd once even speculated that during the 80,223 hours ENIAC operated, it crunched more calculations than had been performed by all humanity since time began.

However, I can't find more details about this, like how they estimated the numbers of calculations made by mankind in history.

Are this affirmations true? Had ENIAC run more calculations than all mankind had done up to that point?

  • 1
    Not all calculations are created equal, if you are just talking trajectory calculations then every rifle and artillery piece would be involved in thousands of calculations. – daniel Jun 29 '18 at 13:42
  • I'm not sure how answerable this is. Determining the number of calculations performed by humans over the whole of human history to any degree of accuracy is most likely impossible. – F1Krazy Jun 29 '18 at 13:45
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    Its also not clear that this is a notable claim. Both quotes are clearly marked as speculation. Voting to close. – Paul Johnson Jun 29 '18 at 14:00
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    First you'd have to define what a calculation is, exactly. What qualifies? What doesn't? – Ben Barden Jun 29 '18 at 14:15
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    Per the article, it could do 5000 addition problems per second and ran for 80 223 hours. 80,223 hours * 60 minutes/hour * 60 seconds/minute * 5,000 addition problems/second = 1 444 014 000 000 addition problems total. This assumes it didn't take any time to reprogram, and that the article is correct about the addition problems. Seems unlikely to me; what would you even do with 5000 results per second? I'd guess it's more of a 5000 operations-per-second thing. – Mathieu K. Jun 30 '18 at 18:12

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