Replica of pioneering computer to be built

Jan. 13, 2011 at 12:54 PM

LONDON, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- A replica of the world's first modern computer, first run more than 60 years ago, will be built at a former U.K. code-breaking center, engineers say.

The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator was a room-sized giant built at Cambridge University that first ran in 1949.

Creation of the replica of EDSAC at Bletchley Park, has been commissioned by the United Kingdom's Computer Conservation Society, the BBC reported Thursday.

Visitors to The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley will get to watch the computer take shape over the next three years.

EDSAC was conceived and created by Sir Maurice Wilkes to carry out many different kinds of calculations for Cambridge researchers and scientists.

"EDSAC was the first to go into regular service to help the people Sir Maurice saw in Cambridge, researchers struggling with computation using desk calculators," said David Hartley, the society's chairman.

During its nine-year lifespan, EDSAC helped two Cambridge researchers win a Nobel Prize and pioneered may computer uses.

Preliminary work on the project will involve scouring archives and talking to surviving EDSAC engineers to get a better idea of how the machine worked, Hartley said.

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