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Several developers of ENIAC, recognizing its flaws, came up with a far more flexible and elegant design, which came to be known as the “stored-program architecture” or von Neumann architecture. This design was first formally described by John von Neumann in the paper First Draft of a Report on the EDVAC, distributed in 1945. A number of projects to develop computers based on the stored-program architecture commenced around this time, the first of which was completed in 1948 at the University of Manchester in England, the Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM or “Baby”). The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC), completed a year after the SSEM at Cambridge University, was the first practical, non-experimental implementation of the stored-program design and was put to use immediately for research work at the university. Shortly thereafter, the machine originally described by von Neumann's paper—EDVAC—was completed but did not see full-time use for an additional two years all modern computers implement some form of the stored-program architecture, making it the single trait by which the word “computer” is now defined. While the technologies used in computers have changed dramatically since the first electronic, general-purpose computers of the 1940s, most still use the von Neumann architecture.

Die of an Intel 80486DX2 microprocessor (actual size: 12×6.75 mm) in its packaging

Beginning in the 1950s, Soviet scientists Sergei Sobolev and Nikolay Brusentsov conducted research on ternary computers, devices that operated on a base three numbering system of -1, 0, and 1 rather than the conventional binary numbering system upon which most computers are based. They designed the Setun, a functional ternary computer, at Moscow State University. The device was put into limited production in the Soviet Union, but supplanted by the more common binary architecture.,1295681.html,1327116.html