The Computer that Changed the World

A CD-ROM produced by Europress
for the Department of Computer Science, University of Manchester,
to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the
World's First Stored-Program Computer

This CD-ROM should be of interest to anyone who wants to learn about, and/or have a record of, the events leading up to and following from the "Birth of the Baby". It has also been produced partly as an educational tool for schools, as a reference work for libraries, and as a souvenir for the 50th Anniversary celebrations.

The CD-ROM can be obtained by contacting the 1998 Conference Office.

The CD-ROM includes :

Reference Documents 1947-1951

These include the famous Kilburn Report of December 1947 to TRE on the CRT store, a log of, and extracts from, the Tootill notebook (covering June to November 1948), the first chapter of Turing's Programming Manual (2nd edition, revised R.A. Brooker) for the Ferranti Mark 1, the letter and two papers in Nature, and the I.E.E. paper on the S.S.E.M. (Note that the Kilburn Report blueprints, Tootill Notebook extracts and I.E.E. Paper diagrams are sometimes quite hard to read.)

Manchester Computing History 1946-1974

This contains the revised edition of Simon Lavington's book "A History of Manchester Computers", and a long paper on the Atlas Supervisor.


This contains biographies of Williams and Kilburn (longer than in the "straightforward account"), written for the CD, plus a significant extract from the Royal Society Biography of Williams.

The Contribution of the Maths Department

This includes extracts from University Minutes relevant to Newman's Royal Society Grant, and a piece written for the CD on the contribution of Newman and Turing to the Baby/Mark 1 project.

Background Pieces

This is a set of 9 articles written in the 90's, four specially for the CD, giving in-depth background to the Baby/Mark 1 story (Contemporary Computers 1946-1951, Programming on the Ferranti Mark 1, the Williams Tube principle, B-lines), and 5 articles from "Resurrection" : A Gentle Introduction to 1940s Electronics & The Williams Tube Revisited (Tony Sale), From Cathode Ray Tube to Ferranti Mark 1 (Tom Kilburn), Memories of the Manchester Mark 1 (Frank Sumner), Early Computers at Manchester University (edited from an all-day seminar given by Profs. Kilburn, Edwards, Grimsdale and Morris).
System Requirements: 486-100 PC or higher (Pentium recommended), CD ROM Drive, 8 Mb RAM, Windows 95, Windows compatible soundcard and 256 colour display.
Note that the CD-ROM does not use WWW technology.

In terms of the relationship of the CD with this Website : the top-level story of the Mark 1 is written at a much higher level, but the "pieces written for the CD" in the Library are similar or identical to pieces on this website (though these may have been subsequently updated). We have permission to publish the I.E.E. paper and the Nature papers on the Website (the latter only for a year), and Chapter 1 of the Turing-Brooker Manual is already on, but we have no immediate plans to put any more of the material on.

Copyright The University of Manchester 1998, 1999, 2005