-- Main.AdrianBowyer - 25 Feb 2006
John von Neumann and the Universal Constructor
John von Neumann with ENIAC
John von Neumann was one of the twentieth century's greatest intellects. He invented the Universal Constructor - a self-copying manufacturing machine - as a theoretical concept. The idea appeared in his book The Theory of Self-Reproducing Automata, edited by A. W. Burks and published posthumously by the University of Illinois Press in 1966.
There is a good biography of von Neumann by William Poundstone called Prisoner's Dilemma, and typing his name into a search engine will produce thousands of sites devoted to his life and work.