Maurice Wilkes and Bill Renwick in front of EDSAC
Wilkes, a physicist, was inspired to build a computer by reading von Neumann’s description of EDVAC and attending the Moore School lectures in 1946. For over 50 years he made pioneering contributions in microprogramming, timesharing, operating systems, and more.
The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC), developed at Britain’s Cambridge University, ran its first programs in 1949. It became the first stored-program computer in regular use, heralding the transition from test to tool.
EDSAC mercury memory tank cover
Cambridge’s EDSAC, the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator, used mercury delay line memory. Originally designed for radar displays, delay lines provided memory for many first-generation computers. EDSAC’s 32 mercury tanks could each hold 32 18–bit words.View Artifact Detail