Publisher Information: 1949-60.
First Journal Devoted to Computing
Mathematical tables and other aids to computation. Vols. 1-14 (1943-60). 8vo. Washington, D.C.: National Research Council. 249 x 166 mm. Vol. 12 in original printed wrappers, remaining volumes in library buckram, with some of the original front wrappers bound in. Library stamps on edges, small "Not to circulate" stamp on titles, but no library markings on spine and no library bookplates. Very good set, showing no signs of use.
First Edition of the first fourteen volumes of the first journal devoted to computing. A quarterly journal published by the National Research Council's committee of the same name, MTAC was founded by the committee's chairman, Raymond C. Archibald, professor of mathematics at Brown University. The journal appeared under the above title until 1960, when, reflecting the obsolescence of mathematical tables caused by the development of electronic digital computers, the name was changed to Mathematics of Computation.
Making mathematical tables was the traditional area of concentration for human computers, and improving their accuracy while increasing the speed of their production had been a primary motivation for developing the first difference engines and later for developing the first programmable digital computers. In his introduction to the first number of MTAC, Archibald stated that one of the journal's goals was to "serve as a clearing-house for information" concerning tools for computation, which "especially during the last decade . . . have been vastly multiplied" (Vol. 1, p. 1). In 1943, shortly after MTAC began publication, the Harvard Mark I and the Bell Labs Relay Interpolator (later called the Model II) became operational, but could not be described in print for reasons of wartime security. After World War II ended MTAC began reporting on these new developments in computing.
MTAC remains the primary periodical source of information on the electromechanical and electronic digital computers designed and built during the late 1940s and early 1950s, as well as on the scientific uses of punched-card machines, mechanical desk calculators, etc. Among the more notable papers published in the journal are A. D. Booth's "Development of A.P.E. (X.) C." (1954); Comrie's "Application of commercial calculating machines to scientific computing" (1946); Goldstine and Goldstine's "The Electric Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC)" (1946), containing the first widely published description of that machine; Huskey's "Characteristics of the Institute for Numerical Analysis computer" (1950), describing the SWAC computer; Rajchman's "The Selectron-a tube for selective electrostatic storage" (1950); Alt's "A Bell Telephone Laboratories computing machine" (1948), describing Stibitz's Model V relay computer; and Lyndon's "The Zuse computer" (1947), containing the first widely distributed description of Zuse's Z4 machine.
As it dealt with a highly specialized topic, MTAC was mailed to a very small readership. By its third year of publication, 1946, its subscription list was only 350 readers (Grier 2001, 44). After the first electronic computing organization, the Association for Computing Machinery, was formed in 1947, MTAC served as the periodical for that organization until the launch of the Journal of the Association for Computing Machinery in January 1954; this would have caused substantial growth in its subscription base. Origins of Cyberspace 777. 41161
Book Id: 41161