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by Michael Nielsen on February 2, 2005

Via Lance Fortnow, I learn that Christie’s is auctioning off a bunch of historical documents relating to the history of computing.

One of those documents is a report by von Neumann, Burks and Goldstine on the concept of the computer. It’s expected to fetch up to about 40,000 US dollars.

In 1997 or 1998 I spent a few hours helping clean out some old trailers at the University of New Mexico Physics Department. One of the things I found while doing this was a copy of von Neumann, Burks and Goldstine – a rather ratty old copy, but (I believed) a true reprint of the report, or whatever the correct term was in those days.

I don’t remember what I did with it any more, but I haven’t seen it in many years. I almost certainly threw it out when I moved to Caltech in 1998, figuring that there must be millions of copies floating around…

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