(1907-1980) US physicist and engineer who, in 1946, constructed the first general-purpose computer, the ENIAC, in collaboration with John Eckert. Their company was bought by Remington Rand 1950, and they built the UNIVAC 1 computer 1951 for the US census.
The work on ENIAC was carried out by the two during World War II, and was commissioned to automate the calculation of artillery firing tables for the US Army. In 1949 Mauchly and Eckert designed a small-scale binary computer, BINAC, which was faster and cheaper to use. Punched cards were replaced with magnetic tape, and the computer stored programs internally.
Mauchly was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, and studied at Johns Hopkins University, becoming professor of physics at Ursinus College in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. In 1941 he moved to the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania, and became principal consultant on the ENIAC project. A dispute over patent policy with the Moore School caused Mauchly and Eckert to leave and set up a partnership 1948. Mauchly was a consultant to Remington Rand (later Sperry Rand) 1950–59 and again from 1973, after setting up his own consulting company 1959.