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[email protected]: The heyday of British computing - how the Brits ruled IT
This article is part of the Computer Weekly issue of 22 September 2016
Computer Weekly is marking its 50th anniversary this year with a series of articles celebrating 50 years of British technology innovation. In this article, we look back at the years before 1966, when Computer Weekly was first published. The story of modern computing is tied intricately to wartime technology. In fact, one of the seminal papers, First draft of a report on the EDVAC, which set in concrete the definition of a modern computer, was written by mathematician John von Neumann, who worked on a way to process the vast numbers of calculations for the Manhattan project in Los Alamos, which was needed to design an atomic bomb. In the UK, putting aside Colossus, Bletchley Park’s ingenious cypher-breaking machine that was bound for many years by the Official Secrets Act, there was plenty coming out of wartime technology. “A lot of wartime tech put us on the road to computing,” says computer scientist Andrew Herbert, a trustee at The National Museum of Computing. Much of this work came from British wartime effort on radar. As ...
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Features in this issue
Launched in 1966 as part of a modernising wave to change British society, Computer Weekly battled for the nation’s industry against the US, and saw IT as an entry ticket to the Common Market
We examine how the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s became an age of great innovation for the British computer industry
Computer Weekly’s journey through 50 years of innovation in technology continues with a look back at the history of the internet and the huge changes it has brought to society
There is a link between the world’s first working computer and the world’s most successful chip: they are both British
From working in statistics departments to becoming a key part of any business transformation – as Computer Weekly gets ready to celebrate its 50th anniversary, we look back at the changing role of IT leaders
As Computer Weekly prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary this September, we take a look at how government IT has changed over the years