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The Harwell Dekatron Computer [Paperback]

Kevin Murrell , Delwyn Holroyd
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: The National Museum of Computing (7 Feb 2013)
  • ISBN-10: 0956795625
  • ISBN-13: 978-0956795625
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 773,780 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

The Harwell Dekatron Computer is a very early digital computer designed and built by the Electronics Division at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment at Harwell. It went into service in 1952 with the dual aims of augmenting the computing power available to the Theoretical Physics Division and to act as a test-bed for new components of interest for nuclear instrumentation. The computer used 'Post Office' relays for control and sequencing, and Dekatron counting tubes and cold-cathode trigger tubes for storage and arithmetic. Although slow, roughly equivalent to a skilled operator with a mechanical desk calculator, it was capable of unattended continuous operation. After several years service at AERE, it passed to the Wolverhampton and Staffordshire College, where it provided hands-on experience of computer programming for students and local school-children. Later, it was displayed at the Birmingham Museum of Science and Industry, and then held in store for some 30 years. In 2009 it was transferred to The National Museum of Computing for restoration to full working order by the Computer Conservation Society.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 8 Mar 2013
By Fabrice
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This awesome little book tells the story of what is today the oldest operating digital computer.

Roughly three fourths of the book are about the historical context of the computer's origin, its use through the years as a teaching tool then an museum item, and its recent restoration process at TNMC. The last part goes into the technical details of the machine.

As a computer history enthusiast I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, and I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read 16 Feb 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book tells the fascinating story of the development and use of one of the very first digital computers in the UK, from its high-tech beginnings in reactor design at Harwell to its eventually more prosaic life as a teaching machine in Wolverhampton.

The machine ended up in storage in Birmingham but has been brought back to life and can be seen and heard (all those paper-tape readers!) at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

Lively and informative, you don't have to be a techie to enjoy this book!
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