World's oldest digital computer is turned back on after 61 years

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posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 04:49 AM
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The world’s oldest, original, still-working digital computer has been unveiled at the National Museum of Computing in Bletchley Park.

"The computer, originally called Harwell but now called the Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell (WITCH), was originally powered up in 1951 Between 1952 and 1957 the computer was used for early atomic research, and then it was given to Wolverhampton University, where it remained in operation until 1973. Between 1973 and 1997 it was on display at a museum in Birmingham, and then it disappeared into storage, only to be discovered by chance in 2009."

I wonder if this can run Windows 8? LoL

Just look how far we've come Alan Turing would be so proud dont you think fellow ATS members?

Source is www.extremetech.com
edit on 22-11-2012 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)




posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 04:52 AM
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reply to post by andy06shake
 


Link : www.extremetech.com...





edit on 22-11-2012 by UltraMarine because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 05:42 AM
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There's quite a lot of stuff to look at at Bletchly park.
The national museum of computer for one...
I saw this machine being rebuilt when I was there.



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 06:13 AM
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reply to post by Markive
 


Interesting thing i find is the fact that this machine operates using base 10 rather than the binary systems we employ today. How very Human.
edit on 22-11-2012 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 06:38 AM
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reply to post by UltraMarine
 


Thanks for the link.

All told, the WITCH had 40 banks of 8 dekatrons, meaning it could store up to 40 8-digit numbers.
Can anybody do the conversion to how many gigabytes of RAM this is?


They say it was reliable but I thought a lot of those vacuum tubes would need to be replaced, I could be wrong. And where do you even get replacement vacuum tubes anymore?



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 06:43 AM
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61 years of Windows Updates to download? Ouch!



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 08:44 AM
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"World's oldest digital computer is turned back on after 61 years"

I'm not sure why Extreme Tech says it was 61 years. The article itself says it was in operation until 1973. So it was turned back on after 39 years, not 61 years. Just like the media to sensationalize...


Cool find OP. S&F



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 08:57 AM
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It was originally turned on in 1951.


2012 - 1951 = 61


Just sayin'.


Even though it was indeed turned off in 1975, the title can be misleading.


I wonder how loud this beast is....
edit on 22-11-2012 by MmmPie because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 09:03 AM
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Those who came before me... directly before me... would speak of working with the original computers and punching out the cards to feed through them.... hours and hours of painstaking work.

My original experience with them involved not having a hard drive and saving everything to the big floppies, shortly before that we saved to a cassette tape, but quickly evolved into the floppy disks. I learned apple basic and dos and even did cool graphics (for the time) with them. Logo, fortran, all the base languages, binary, used booleen algebra.... ahhhhhh, those were the days....

It's hard to believe we've come this far in just my lifetime. The kids today have never known a world without internet, a world without digital images, a world without information at their fingertips that can be immediately searched and retrieved. Books are a relic to them, they can't concieve the massive libraries of the University and how to find what they want/need without the use of a keyboard. John Dewey is a name they don't even know. They have no concept of a card catalogue or searching by title, author or subject.

The very logical thought processes that we utilized every day are foreign to them. Linear thinking is lost on them, everything is digital and immediate.

hmmmmm....now more than ever, the basics of logic taught in geometry and algebra are a foreign concept to them.... making me reflect on the methodology I'm using....

Is it imperitive that I teach them the linear thought process or should I tailor the knowledge to their thought processes.... I suppose I need to use their process to teach them the other process ..... much to think about now.

Sometimes "rambling" is good for me



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 09:13 AM
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Originally posted by john_bmth
61 years of Windows Updates to download? Ouch!




Updates would indeed be a pain -- but think about the BSOD's on this antique. :-)

We should load up Linux instead.



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 09:19 AM
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I remember the days when 64kb of ram was considered "more than we'd ever need"


now we're looking at Tb! ... oh how far we've come....



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 09:31 AM
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reply to post by PurpleChiten
 

There will be a price to be paid for overlooking the old-fashioned way of doing things.

The kids seem smart but they're going to be awfully dumb when the lights go out.



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 09:37 AM
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reply to post by PurpleChiten
 


My Aunt who graduated 1975 BSC Computer Science use to work with tape systems and punch cards. How far we have come eh?



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 10:20 AM
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Ah... this brings back memories of my very first computer.

It was a Tandy 1000 with a 40 mb harddrive and 384k ram... what a beaut she was. State of the art home computing. Dungeons and dragons here I come !


You never forget your very first love and that first kiss.

*sigh*



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 10:31 AM
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reply to post by CranialSponge
 


My first Computer was a 48k ZX Spectrum with tape deck, Then a Commodore 64 with floppy 5.5" disks. Then came the mighty Amiga 500 i loved this best. And all before my very first PC a 500Mhz AMD, 16Mb onboard GFX, 250Mb hard-disk. Oh how times have changed! LoL
edit on 22-11-2012 by andy06shake because: (no reason given)



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 05:41 PM
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"Grandpa's computer" ,sounds funny, doesn't it?



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 05:42 PM
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Originally posted by FlyingFox
"Grandpa's computer" ,sounds funny, doesn't it?


Its a brave new world for sure.



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 05:57 PM
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Originally posted by MmmPie
I wonder how loud this beast is....
edit on 22-11-2012 by MmmPie because: (no reason given)


Here you go




It's an amazing piece of equipment that's for sure. I wonder where we would be right now if it wasn't for the pioneers back then?



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 06:35 PM
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Originally posted by detachedindividual
. I wonder where we would be right now if it wasn't for the pioneers back then?





Outside doing things with our families, or inside having a family dinner at the table.


Basically, in a better place.



posted on Nov, 22 2012 @ 07:25 PM
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mainstream computers today while giving us much more abilities
still do only have one CPU while older computers
maybe not that old, this one only uses power it seems and has less to none
still some of the computers from the 70's could do some amazing stuff
to me it seemed like all the fun stopped when the Amiga systems when bluff
to me that was the last real computer
my budget pc here is at least 1000times more powerfull
still the amiga didn't lack
it would newer lack a video or anything really
not when loaded
so how come
simple, it was made by 4 people doing really advanced custom chip hardware, it was a masterpiece, like art, today everything is made for profit, -not art





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