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Inventing the User: EDSAC in context

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  • UserProfessor David Barron, Emeritus Professor of the University of Southampton, Dr Doron Swade MBE, formerly Senior Curator of Computing, Science Museum, and Professor Sir Maurice Wilkes
  • ClockWednesday 06 May 2009, 15:00-17:00
  • HouseLecture Theatre 1, Computer Laboratory.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Mateja Jamnik.

EDSAC 60th Anniversary talk/800th Anniversary of Cambridge Univ. talk/Note unusual time (Talk followed by Drinks Reception at 17:00)

This seminar commemorates EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator), the first usable stored-program computer, built at the University Mathematical Laboratory, Cambridge. EDSAC ran its first program on 6 May 1949 and the seminar is held, to the day, on the 60th anniversary of this event. The EDSAC team pioneered fundamental techniques in programming and hardware design, provided the first successful university computing service, and defined a new class of user. EDSAC used vacuum-tube logic and acoustic delay line memory. Its development was a remarkable achievement of management, design and technique, and the team’s expertise seeded an influential movement in post-war electronic computing. Professor Sir Maurice Wilkes, who was the driving force behind EDSAC and its principal designer, will offer personal reflections on his work. David Barron will describe the experiences of a typical early user and cover the support facilities and the technical features of the machine. Doron Swade will place the machine in historical context.

This talk is part of the Computer Laboratory Wednesday Seminars series.

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