This report, to the Army Ordnance Department, outlined the design of what came to be known as the "von Neumann"-style machine. It was one of the most detailed available on the construction and design for a stored computer. The "stored program concept" is the theory that instructions, like data, can be stored in numerical format in the internal memory of the machine. It is regarded as the one of greatest innovations in the history of the computer.
The authors, three chief members of the IAS Electronic Computer Project, explain: "If, however, the orders to the machine are reduced to a numerical code and if the machine can in some fashion distinguish a number from an order, the memory organ can be used to store both numbers and orders"
The paper was first published in July, 1946, although the present copy is the first regularly and formally distributed edition. It includes considerable expansion on the "arithmetic organ" and sections were updated to reflect the engineering advances made by the team the previous nine months.
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