JF Ptak Science Books Post 2391
I thought for a moment that the Oxford English Dictionary had been scooped in identifying the earliest usage of the term "super computer" when I saw this newspaper article in the wonderful book by Charles and Ray Eames called A Computer Perspective (Harvard University Press, 1973). The article refers to an unidentified machine at Columbia University in a March 1, 1920 article, which would beat the first use found by the OED in 1927 (see below) by seven years. So, I checked this out a little, and latched onto a reference to Dr. Ben D. Wood as the director of the Statistical Bureau at Columbia, and found that this event didn't happen until June 19291.
And so the Eameses got this one wrong, or the editor did, or the proof reader, or the typesetter. So instead of being 1920, this is at the very least second-half 1929, some two years or so past the first use identified by the OED. It is also possible that this might be 1931/2. Still, this was very early for using the term, and the article is interesting.
More can be found on the machine (which was probably the "Columbia Machine", which as also known as the "Statistical Calculator" and the "Difference Tabulator", and with some affection "the Packard". A very good appraisal of this machine can be found at the Columbia University site for computing history at Columbia, http://www.columbia.edu/cu/computinghistory/packard.html
OED: the earliest usages of "supercomputer":