Computers, Margaret Thatcher & Ice Cream


On 6th May 1949, the Electronic Delay Storage Calculator (EDSAC) ran its first set of programs. This historic British computer calculated a table of square numbers and a list of prime numbers. It was developed by Maurice Wilkes with his team at the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory.

The computer was built on the top floor of a building that was once a dissecting room. As one of the research students (John Bennett) at the time recalls, this had an advantage and a disadvantage to it. On the plus side, the building possessed a large lift which was designed to fit 2 cadavers, making it very spacious. However, during summer the researchers would get sickened by the smell formalin vapour because of the heat warming up the formalin saturated floorboards.

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