Monday, 17 January 2011

Rebuilding a pioneering computer

silicon.com reports that EDSAC is to be recreated at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park. While not the first electronic stored-program computer (that honour probably goes to Manchester's "Baby"), it was the first to be of practical use and was the basis of the world's first business computer, Leo. Ironically, considering the trail-blazing work carried out in Manchester, and, during the war, by the code-breakers at Bletchley Park, EDSAC was inspired by Stateside designs by Mauchly, Eckert and von Neumann for EDVAC.

What puzzles me is where they are going to get all those valves for an authentic replica.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

There are valves available, but they don't come cheap; I seem to recall the USSR was still making them!

Frank H Little said...

Ah yes, that brings back a memory that MiG fighters stuck to valves in their avionics long after the US had switched to solid-state. It seems that valve technology is more resistant to EMP.

Anonymous said...

True! During the Falklands war, there were plans to fly a single Vulcan Bomber over Buenos Aires and turn the Aveonics on and blow every telly in the Capital!