The Modern Computer: 60 Years Old on 31st August 2006

The Modern Computer: 60 Years Old on 31st August 2006

London, UK (PRWEB) August 16, 2006

August 2006 not only marks the 25th anniversary of the IBM PC, it also marks the 60th anniversary of an event more fundamental to the development of the modern computer : The Moore School Lectures.

Before the Moore School Lectures, a summer school for leading researchers held at the Moore School of Engineering, Philadelphia between 8th July and 31st August, advanced computing machines fell into one of two types: slow half-mechanical monsters or inflexible electronic mammoths.

The half-mechanical monsters, such as those built in Berlin by Konrad Zuse or the Harvard Mark I, were very-slow because they have thousands of moving parts. The electronic mammoths, the code breaking Collosus in the UK and the US Army ENIAC, were both built for specialist tasks and essentially needed rewiring before they could change what they were working on.

The Moore School Lectures brought together many of the computing pioneers of the time to discuss the current state of computer development and its future direction. In particular is introduced the concept of a computer storing its program in its own memory, thus allowing far more complex logic to be performed, and opening up the path to the advanced devices we know today.

Four key computer projects instigated by attendees at the Moore School Lectures

1) The Mancheter ‘Baby’, a small-scale test system, runs the worlds first internally stored program: Jun 1948

2) The Cambridge EDSAC, the first operational computer that could store its own program: May 1949

3) The first stored program computer to operate in North America, the ERA Atlas, delivered to the NSA: Dec 1950

4) The first major commercial computer, the UNIVAC, completed 1951

Ludovic Smith, Author of Crash! The Story of IT, says “The Moore School Lectures were crucial to the development of the computer into the powerful all-purpose machines we know today. Without the concepts dispersed at the summer school, we would still be using logarithm tables to do maths, bashing mechanical typewriters rather than word processing and listening to vinyl records rather and CDs or iPods.”

About Crash! The Story of IT

Crash! The Story of IT (ISBN 0955263409) traces the key events in the development of information technology, from the work of the early pioneers to the hot topics of today. The history and development of computer hardware, software and networking are all covered in depth in addition to reviews of the current trends in computing: IT security, open source software and the opportunities and drawbacks of web services.

For more information visit


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