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The MANIAC (Mathematical Analyzer, Numerical Integrator, and Computer or Mathematical Analyzer, Numerator, Integrator, and Computer[1]) 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,[2] although von Neumann may have suggested the name to him.

The first task assigned to the Los Alamos Maniac was to perform more exact and extensive calculations of the thermonuclear process.[3]

The MANIAC ran successfully in March 1952 and was shut down on July 15, 1958.[4] 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. ^ Metropolis 1980
  3. ^ Declassified AEC report RR00523
  4. ^ Turing's Cathedral, by George Dyson, 2012, p. 315
  5. ^ Kelly, Kevin (17 February 2012). "Q&A: Hacker Historian George Dyson Sits Down With Wired’s Kevin Kelly". WIRED. Retrieved 8 May 2017.