A Week-End Off: The First Extensive Number-Theoretical Computation on the ENIAC

  • Liesbeth De Mol
  • Maarten Bullynck
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5028)


The first extensive number-theoretical computation run on the ENIAC, is reconstructed. The problem, computing the exponent of 2 modulo a prime, was set up on the ENIAC during a week-end in July 1946 by the number-theorist D.H. Lehmer, with help from his wife Emma and John Mauchly. Important aspects of the ENIAC’s design are presented and the reconstruction of the implementation of the problem on the ENIAC is discussed in its salient points.


ENIAC Derrick H. Lehmer number theory Fermat’s little theorem early programming parallelism prime sieve 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liesbeth De Mol
    • 1
  • Maarten Bullynck
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Logic and Philosophy of ScienceUniversity of GhentGentBelgium
  2. 2.IZWT, Gaussstrasse 20, 42119 Wuppertal, Germany and REHSEISParisFrance

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