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Photos of the launch of Euronetlab on the 30th of March 2000
The Steering Committee of Euronetlab


A laboratory information management system (LIMS), sometimes referred to as a laboratory information system (LIS) or laboratory management system (LMS), is a software-based solution with features that support a modern laboratory's operations. Key features include-but are not limited to-workflow and data tracking support, flexible architecture, and data exchange interfaces, which fully "support its use in regulated environments". The features and uses of a LIMS have evolved over the years from simple tracking to an enterprise resource planning tool that manages multiple aspects of laboratory informatics.

The definition of a LIMS is somewhat controversial: LIMSs are dynamic because the laboratory's requirements are rapidly evolving and different labs often have different needs. Therefore, a working definition of a LIMS ultimately depends on the interpretation by the individuals or groups involved.

Historically the LIMS, LIS, and process development execution system (PDES) have all performed similar functions. The term "LIMS" has tended to refer to informatics systems targeted for environmental, research, or commercial analysis such as pharmaceutical or petrochemical work. "LIS" has tended to refer to laboratory informatics systems in the forensics and clinical markets, which often required special case management tools. "PDES" has generally applied to a wider scope, including, for example, virtual manufacturing techniques, while not necessarily integrating with laboratory equipment.

In recent times LIMS functionality has spread even farther beyond its original purpose of sample management. Assay data management, data mining, data analysis, and electronic laboratory notebook (ELN) integration have been added to many LIMS, enabling the realization of translational medicine completely within a single software solution. Additionally, the distinction between LIMS and LIS has blurred, as many LIMS now also fully support comprehensive case-centric clinical data.



ENIAC was the first electronic general-purpose computer. It was Turing-complete, digital and able to solve "a large class of numerical problems" through reprogramming.

Although ENIAC was designed and primarily used to calculate artillery firing tables for the United States Army's Ballistic Research Laboratory (which later became a part of the Army Research Laboratory), its first program was a study of the feasibility of the thermonuclear weapon.

ENIAC was formally dedicated at the University of Pennsylvania on February 15, 1946 and was heralded as a "Giant Brain" by the press. It had a speed on the order of one thousand times faster than that of electro-mechanical machines; this computational power, coupled with general-purpose programmability, excited scientists and industrialists alike. The combination of speed and programmability allowed for thousands more calculations for problems, as ENIAC calculated a trajectory in 30 seconds that took a human 20 hours (allowing one ENIAC hour to displace 2,400 human hours). The completed machine was announced to the public the evening of February 14, 1946 and formally dedicated the next day at the University of Pennsylvania, having cost almost $500,000 (approximately $6,300,000 today). It was formally accepted by the U.S. Army Ordnance Corps in July 1946. ENIAC was shut down on November 9, 1946 for a refurbishment and a memory upgrade, and was transferred to Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland in 1947. There, on July 29, 1947, it was turned on and was in continuous operation until 11:45 p.m. on October 2, 1955.

Mechanical computing machines have been around since Archimedes' time (see: Antikythera mechanism), but the 1930s and 1940s are considered the beginning of the modern computer era.

ENIAC was, like the IBM Harvard Mark I and the German Z3, able to run an arbitrary sequence of mathematical operations, but did not read them from a tape. Like the British Colossus, it was programmed by plugboard and switches. ENIAC combined full, Turing-complete programmability with electronic speed. The Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), ENIAC, and Colossus all used thermionic valves (vacuum tubes). ENIAC's registers performed decimal arithmetic, rather than binary arithmetic like the Z3, the ABC and Colossus.

Like the Colossus, ENIAC required rewiring to reprogram until the April 1948. In June 1948, the Manchester Baby ran its first program and earned the distinction of first electronic stored-program computer. Though the idea of a stored-program computer with combined memory for program and data was conceived during the development of ENIAC, it was not initially implemented in ENIAC because World War II priorities required the machine to be completed quickly, and ENIAC's 20 storage locations would be too small to hold data and programs.

The Z3 and Colossus were developed independently of each other, and of the ABC and ENIAC during World War II. Work on the ABC at Iowa State University was stopped in 1942 after John Atanasoff was called to Washington, D.C., to do physics research for the U.S. Navy, and it was subsequently dismantled. The Z3 was destroyed by the Allied bombing raids of Berlin in 1943. As the ten Colossus machines were part of the UK's war effort their existence remained secret until the late 1970s, although knowledge of their capabilities remained among their UK staff and invited Americans. ENIAC, by contrast, was put through its paces for the press in 1946, "and captured the world's imagination". Older histories of computing may therefore not be comprehensive in their coverage and analysis of this period. All but two of the Colossus machine were dismantled in 1945; the remaining two were used to decrypt Soviet messages by GCHQ until the 1960s. The public demonstration for ENIAC was developed by Snyder and Jennings who created a demo that would calculate the trajectory of a missile in 15 seconds, a task that would have taken a weeks for a human computer.

For a variety of reasons (including Mauchly's June 1941 examination of the Atanasoff-Berry Computer, prototyped in 1939 by John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry), U.S. Patent 3,120,606 for ENIAC, applied for in 1947 and granted in 1964, was voided by the 1973 decision of the landmark federal court case Honeywell v. Sperry Rand, putting the invention of the electronic digital computer in the public domain and providing legal recognition to Atanasoff as the inventor of the first electronic digital computer.

In 1996, in honor of the ENIAC's 50th anniversary, The University of Pennsylvania sponsored a project named, "ENIAC-on-a-Chip", where a very small silicon computer chip measuring 7.44 mm by 5.29 mm was built with the same functionality as ENIAC. Although this 20 MHz chip was many times faster than ENIAC, it had but a fraction of the speed of its contemporary microprocessors in the late 1990s.

In 1997, the six women who did most of the programming of ENIAC were inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. The role of the ENIAC programmers is treated in a 2010 documentary film titled Top Secret Rosies: The Female "Computers" of WWII by LeAnn Erickson. A 2014 documentary short, The Computers by Kate McMahon, tells of the story of the six programmers; this was the result of 20 years' research by Kathryn Kleiman and her team as part of the ENIAC Programmers Project.

In 2011, in honor of the 65th anniversary of the ENIAC's unveiling, the city of Philadelphia declared February 15 as ENIAC Day.