Sunday, December 27, 2009

Edvac, or Engineers will be engineers

As work under the contract progressed, it became necessary from time to time to freeze logical planning and design characteristics in order that the project should result in the completion of the EDVAC. If this were not done the result would merely have been the establishment of the specifications and techniques then representative of the existing state of the art. Certain design characteristics of the completed machine represented the state of the art two years previous, others of one year previous, while some were current characteristics. As often happens in development projects of this nature, the freezing of design occurred later than had been anticipated, partly because early design decisions had been unsound and partly because it is never possible to prevent research-minded personnel from continuing to incorporate desirable improvements which result in a better instrument but are accompanied by a later completion date. In the case of EDVAC a delay of about one year occurred, but the machine possessed a capability far beyond that envisioned in the preliminary report or in the contract and its supplements.



Sound familiar? If not, you've never worked with engineers.


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