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The Computer Laboratory, formerly known as the Mathematical Laboratory, was founded in 1937 to house a mechanical differential analyser. After the war it became the centre for pioneering work on electronic digital computers, and since 1950 has concentrated entirely on the digital field. Two early computers were designed and built in the Laboratory. The first of these was the EDSAC, which did its first calculations in May 1949 and ran until July 1958. It was succeeded by EDSAC 2, which was finally switched off in November 1965.
While the enthusiasm for building hardware has not diminished, the Laboratory now houses a variety of commercially made computers. There is also an assortment of specialised equipment used mainly in connection with the Department's research work.