The Relics Project
The Laboratory was founded in 1937, originally named the Mathematical Laboratory. It housed mechanical computers, Brunsvigas, Facits, electric Marchants
and an electric Midas etc.
Calculating Machines in the Computer Lab collection
Work began on the EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator, later referred to as EDSAC I), following Prof.Wilkes' visit to the US in August and September 1946. The first logged program
on EDSAC I (computing squares of 0-99) ran on 6th May 1949.This was the first complete and fully operational regular electronic digital stored program computer; Manchester's absolute first, in 1948, was the Small Scale Experimental Machine, built to validate innovative CRT memory technology. (These machines were before the first US machines.) It was shut down on 11th July 1958.
EDSAC I items in the Computer Lab collection
EDSAC II (1958-1965), was the first full-scale microprogrammed machine, also the first bit-sliced machine. It used fast paper tape for I/O, magnetic tapes. A small number of basic library subroutines were wired into a ROM.
EDSAC II items in the Computer Lab collection
The TITAN (1964-1973) was essentially a cut-down version of the Ferranti Atlas computer. It featured the first operating system (Temporary Supervisor by Swinnerton-Dyer). It was used among many other things for early work on graphics interfaces and computer-aided design.
Titan items in the Computer Lab collection
The Cambridge Ring/Cambridge Fast Ring
The Cambridge RING project was initiated in 1974. It was a communication network through
the Laboratory. Information flowed round twisted-pair wires and all stations were in
series. The main purpose was not to provide rapid speed but to provide
intercommunication between printers, computers etc for which speed didn't matter.
Development work on the Fast Ring began in 1980.
The Cambridge Ring/Cambridge Fast Ring items in the Computer Lab collection
The CAP project on memory protection ran 1970-77, based on capabilities
implemented in hardware, under Wilkes and Needham with
Wheeler responsible for implementation (BCS Technical
Award 1978 for `CAP (Capability Protection) Project' to Needham).
CAP items in the Computer Lab collection