Science: Crystal Memory

Computing machines are getting brainier and brainier. Latest and brainiest is SEAC (Standards Eastern Automatic Computer), built in Washington by the National Bureau of Standards.

SEAC is completely electronic, with no mechanical parts. Instead of the thousands of expensive and bulky vacuum tubes that serve as "brain cells" in other large computers, SEAC does most of its thinking with 12,800 germanium crystal diodes—modern descendants of the "crystals" in oldtime radios. The diodes are small, trouble-free and quick, allowing the electric pulses of the machine's thinking processes to circulate at the rate of one million per second.

SEAC's most advanced feature is its fast...

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