What Happened on May 6th

British Computer EDSAC Performs First Calculation

The EDSAC performed its first calculation. Maurice Wilkes had assembled the machine -- the first practical stored-program computer -- at Cambridge University (an earlier machine at the University of Manchester was too small for practical purposes). His ideas grew out of the Moore School lectures he had attended three years earlier at the University of Pennsylvania. For programming the EDSAC, Wilkes established a library of short programs called subroutines stored on punched paper tapes. It performed 714 operations per second.