CitationDownload as .RIS
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 1998, MCB UP Limited
Anniversary event - world's first stored program ran on Manchester University's computer, 21 June 1948
Anniversary event world's first stored program ran on Manchester University's computer, 21 June 1948
Golden Anniversary celebrations, June 1998The centre-piece of the opening ceremony of Manchester University's Golden Anniversary computer celebrations in June 1998 was the reconstruction of the events leading up to 21 June 1948 when the first program ran on theuniversity's "The Baby", the world's first stored program computer.
A personal account of his own work in the Computer Science Department of the University at Manchester, and his close association with Professor Freddie Williams and collegues was given by Professor Tom Kilburn.
It will be recalled that he solved the central problem of electronic storage and with his colleagues was responsible for the pioneering achievements that led to the building of the computer that was named "The Baby". A rebuilt version of this machine is now on show at at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester.
Professor Kilburn's address was surely one of the highlights of a fascinating three-day celebration and conference. Leading academics and industrial experts from all over the world had been invited to explore the past and present state of information technology, and developments in computer science.
In the programme of events there were discussions on the important role that had been played by Ferranti and ICI in the milestone developments at the Department of Computer Science at Manchester. Those who attended were left in little doubt about the vigorous continuation of the department's successful engineering tradition and close collaboration with industry. This was clearly demonstrated in the talks concerning its current relationship with ARM Ltd in the commercial exploitation of AMULET technology, which has been developed by Professor Steve Furber's asynchronous design group.
Speakers at the celebration included Professor Richard Brook, the chief executive of the UK's Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; Professors Roger Needham and Robin Milner, Cambridge University; Professor Mike Brady, Oxford University. These were among many who described developments in the universities and in industry and commerce.
In particular, there were many key discussions that were concerned not only with past achievements that were rightly honoured but also with the present challenge of building a knowledgeable and expert research community that will be able to deal with the next period of change. The UK can be justly proud of the achievements of its computer pioneers and the University of Manchester is to be congratulated on its decision to hold the Golden Anniversary computer celebrations.