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The MANIAC (Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator, and Computer or Mathematical Analyzer, Numerator, Integrator, and Computer[1][2]) was an early computer built under the direction of Nicholas Metropolis at the Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory. It was based on the von Neumann architecture of the IAS, developed by John von Neumann. As with all computers of its era, it was a one-of-a-kind machine that could not exchange programs with other computers (even other IAS machines). Metropolis chose the name MANIAC in the hope of stopping the rash of silly acronyms for machine names,[3] although von Neumann may have suggested the name to him.

The MANIAC weighed about 1,000 pounds (0.50 short tons; 0.45 t).[4][5]

The first task assigned to the Los Alamos Maniac was to perform more exact and extensive calculations of the thermonuclear process.[6]

The MANIAC ran successfully in March 1952[7][8][9] and was shut down on July 15, 1958.[10] However, it was apparently[11] transferred to the University of New Mexico until it was retired in 1965. It was succeeded by MANIAC II in 1957.

A third version MANIAC III was built at the Institute for Computer Research at the University of Chicago in 1964.

A computer named MANIAC I was featured in the science fiction film The Magnetic Monster, although this was not the actual chassis of MANIAC I.

Notable MANIAC programmers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pang, Tao (1997). An Introduction to Computational Physics. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-48143-0. OCLC 318210008.
  2. ^ Wennrich, Peter (1984). Anglo-American and German Abbreviations in Data Processing. De Gruyter. p. 362. ISBN 9783598205248. MANIAC Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator and Computer
    MANIAC Mechanical and Numerical Integrator and Calculator
    MANIAC Mechanical and Numerical Integrator and Computer
  3. ^ Metropolis 1980
  4. ^ "Daybreak of the Digital Age". Princeton Alumni Weekly. Published in the April 4, 2012 Issue. 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2018-05-25. MANIAC was a single 6-foot-high, 8-foot-long unit weighing 1,000 pounds.
  5. ^ "Computing and the Manhattan Project". Atomic Heritage Foundation. July 18, 2014. It’s a MANIAC. MANIAC was substantively smaller than ENIAC: only six feet high, eight feet wide, and weighing in at half a ton.
    1 short ton (2,000 lb)
  6. ^ Declassified AEC report RR00523
  7. ^ See Computing & Computers: Weapons Simulation Leads to the Computer Era, p. 135
  8. ^ Berry, Kenneth J.; Johnston, Janis E.; Jr, Paul W. Mielke (2014-04-11). A Chronicle of Permutation Statistical Methods: 1920–2000, and Beyond. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 109. ISBN 9783319027449.
  9. ^ Computing at LASL in the 1940s and 1950s. Department of Energy. 1978. p. 16.
  10. ^ Turing's Cathedral, by George Dyson, 2012, p. 315
  11. ^ Computing at LASL in the 1940s and 1950s. Department of Energy. 1978. p. 21.
  12. ^ Kelly, Kevin (17 February 2012). "Q&A: Hacker Historian George Dyson Sits Down With Wired's Kevin Kelly". WIRED. Retrieved 8 May 2017.

External links[edit]