EDSAC Programming

Speaker: Andrew Herbert
Date: Thursday 18th April 2024
Time: 14:30

25 Copthall Ave, London EC2R 7BP and
via the Internet using ZOOM.

About the seminar

This lecture will explore the programming system for the Cambridge EDSAC computer when it provided a general computing service to the university from 1951 onwards and as described in the first ever computer programming text book, “The Preparation of Programmes for an Electronic Digital Computer”, M.V. Wilkes, D.J. Wheeler & S. Gill, Addison-Wesley, 1951. Amongst the early modern computers EDSAC was unique in terms of the facilities provided to make it easy to write and debug programmes for the machine, including providing an extensive library of mathematical and input/output subroutines, symbolic addressing, dynamic linking in the programme input and extensive post-mortem and execution profiling facilities. The talk will be illustrated by running examples on an EDSAC simulator.

About the speaker

Dr Andrew Herbert OBE, FREng is Chairman of Trustees for The National Museum of Computing where he is also the project manager for the EDSAC Replica Project – now substantially complete and running simple test programs. Andrew studied for his PhD at Cambridge in the final years of Wilkes’ tenure as head of the Computer Laboratory, giving him personal connection to the EDSAC.

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