A working round-screened air traffic control station and a reborn 1980s ICL 2900 workhorse mainframe are among the attractions lined up for the new National Museum of Computing, which is being set up this year.
The star attraction is the world’s first digital computer, the wartime codebreaking machine Colossus, restored and recently transported back to its birthplace at Bletchley Park, the site of the museum.
The facility is being developed by the Codes and Ciphers Heritage Trust in partnership with the Bletchley Park Trust and it is supported by the British Computer Society.
In January, the BCS helped secure the future of the Colossus with a £75,000 donation. “Colossus is a genuine milestone in computing history – not just in terms of the crucially important role it played in winning the Second World War, but also how it paved the way for the future of computing,” said BCS president Nigel Shadbolt.
The museum will show how the painstaking work of the Bletchley Park codebreakers to crack first the Enigma and then the Lorenz machine gave rise to the age of digital computing.
The museum will follow the development of computing from the ultra-secret pioneering efforts of that time, through the mainframes of the 1960s and 1970s, and the rise of personal computing in the 1980s.
Colossus is already open to the public, who can see demonstrations of how the computer cracked a
German encrypted message during the Second World War.
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