Computing before Computers - From Counting Board to Slide Rule

Speaker: David Elgin
Date: Thu 15th May 2014
Time: 14:30

Fellows Library of the Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD


About the seminar

Starting with Roman numerals this talk looks at the variety computing devices used as aids to arithmetic calculations and at analogue devices used, for example, to calculate area or to predict tides. (The world's simplest computer can be used to calculate area). Teams of human beings have played a vital role in the production of tables and in large computational tasks such as lens design. Some devices have more appeal as toys than usefulness. Others, such as the slide rule, have been vitally important.

About the speaker

David Eglin started work aged 16 as a laboratory assistant at ICI in Backley. Soon realising that his entry into the world of work was premature he took himself off to Durham University. After eventually graduating and a graduate apprenticeship at AEI, he joined Ferranti Computers in 1962. Starting with the punched card controller for Orion, he had various design jobs and a brief excursion into design automation. When the design of the ICL 2900 series was started he was given responsibility for the 2980 CPU. In 1980 he left ICL to become Engineering Director of Lattice Logic Ltd, a silicon compiler company, based in Edinburgh. Lattice logic was merged with European Silicon Systems where David became UK Marketing Manger. Upon the demise of ES2 he spent his twilight working life as a computer trainer in London.

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