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John Vincent Antanasoff

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JVA BIOGRAPHY
John Vincent Atanasoff (JVA) was born on 4 October 1903 a few miles west of Hamilton, New York. His father was a Bulgarian immigrant named Ivan Atanasov. Ivan’s name was changed to John Atanasoff by immigration officials at Ellis Island, when he arrived with an uncle in 1889.

JVA’s mother was Iva Lucena Purdy, an English teacher from upstate New York. She and John married in 1900, following John’s graduation from Colgate College with a degree in philosophy. He got a job as an industrial engineer in New Jersey and they started their family. John took electrical engineering correspondence courses at night and on weekends to further his education. After JVA’s birth in 1903, his father moved the family to Florida, accepting an electrical engineering position in a newly established town called Brewster, now an empty ghost town, but back then, the home of the phosphate mines of chemical conglomerate American Cyanamid. In Brewster, JVA completed grade school at a two room schoolhouse, and later attended middle and high school at an accelerated pace, graduating with his high school diploma at age 15.

Throughout his developmental years, JVA exhibited the characteristics of an inventive personality, and was encouraged by his mother and father to exercise his wide interests in subjects ranging from crochet and British Literature to electrical circuits and the workings of farm machinery. He developed a fascination with calculating devices when his father gave him a slide rule, with which JVA used to solve simple math problems. Amazed at the precision achieved, he experimented with more complex equations and began studying logarithms, algebra, and differential calculus. His mother helped him to understand number bases other than base-10 and he eventually learned how to make calculatations using a variety of bases, including base-2, also known as binary…...

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