Getting the Right People


What kinds of qualities do you want on your team? We start discussing skills and the qualities of our personnel with guest George Dyson while our intern and our IT guy go in search of John Von Neumann’s early computer. Dyson identifies some useful lessons from Julian Bigelow, who served as the engineer on von Neumann’s computer.



This episode deals with personnel lessons learned from an important early computer, the one built by John von Neumann at the Institute for Advanced Study.  Unlike some of its antecedents, this machine followed a basic pattern that has been replicated in modern processors.  That pattern is called the “von Neumann architecture.”


The von Neumann architecture was first described,  in an incomplete way, in a paper called “The Draft Report on the EDVAC.”  Most scholars accept that this paper was conceived and organized by von Neumann, though it was probably drafted by von Neumann’s assistant and contains contributions, perhaps substantial contributions, from others. Beyond dispute is the claim, as Anna notes, that it was written in Courier Font.