• Mark PriestleyEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in History of Computing book series (BRIEFSHC)


In the summer of 1945, the mathematician John von Neumann coded a ‘meshing’ routine for the EDVAC. The routine merged two sorted sequences, and von Neumann intended to use it as part of a larger program implementing the mergesort algorithm. Von Neumann’s code is preserved in the 23-page manuscript reproduced in Appendix B, which documents the development of the routine in considerable detail. This chapter describes the background of von Neumann’s involvement with the EDVAC project and his work on sorting applications. The question of whether historic programs are best studied as texts, artefacts, or a combination of both is considered, and the material production of the manuscript containing the meshing routine is described.


John von Neumann EDVAC ENIAC Mergesort History of programming 

Copyright information

© The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Freelance Writer and Historian of ComputingLondonUK

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