Department of Computer Science and Technology

Celebrating Cambridge's Contributions to Computing

The Computer Laboratory is celebrating the Universary's 800 years anniversary in 2009 with a series of talks and events to throw light on different aspects of computing in Cambridge.


Although a young discipline by Cambridge standards, Computer Science has had an incalculably large impact on modern life, and therefore inspires a great deal of public interest. Cambridge has been responsible for many of the significant first advances in this new field (EDSAC, the world’s first practical stored program computer, and the Computer Science Diploma, the world’s first taught course in computing, to list but two), and we are planning a series of events to celebrate Cambridge’s contributions to computing.

The University's 800 years anniversary coincides with the retirement of the Computer Science Diploma, which will be replaced after 55 years of teaching by a new postgraduate degree in advanced computer science. It is also the 60th anniversary of EDSAC. Thus, it is a particularly apt moment to reflect upon and draw attention to the contributions of the graduates and faculty of the Cambridge Computer Laboratory.

All events will be aimed at the general public and will consist of a combination of lectures, historical films from the Computer Laboratory archives, and interactive computing-related demonstrations.

The lectures will be by eminent alumni and will highlight the value and possibilities of a Cambridge Computer Science education. The talks will be archived here permanently, and are expected to serve as a source of oral history.

The demonstrations have been organised as a treasure trail of computing related sites around Cambridge. The trail will start with an analogue, hydraulic computer at the Economics Department and end with a practical quantum computing demo at the Cavendish Laboratory. Various historical computers built at the Computer Laboratory will also be highlighted.

For further information, please contact Nishanth Sastry or Prof. Jon Crowcroft (firstname.lastname AT

Special Talks

Related Talks

Connected events

Computing-related Treasure Trail
On May 27, on the morning of Bill Thompson's talk, there will be a self-guided treasure trail of computing-related sites around Cambridge. Please check here for details and a downloadable map of the treasure trail.
The following will be featured:
Old computers of time (sun dials) from all over Cambridge (Courtesy Dr. Frank King, Computer Laboratory)
MONIAC, an analogue, hydraulic computer at the Economics Department (Interactive demos, courtesy Dr. Allan McRobie, Engineering Department)
Silicon qubit device at the Cavendish Laboratory (Interactive demos, courtesy Dr. David Williams, Hitachi Cambridge Laboratory)
Historical computers at the Computer Laboratory
Screening of historical films about computers built in Cambridge.
Rare historical films from the Computer Laboratory Archives will be screened later in the year (Michaelmas 2009).