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Published on Sep 20, 2017
Professor Wilkes discusses his experiences in the computing industry beginning with his invitation to the Moore School lectures at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, as well as his previous experience with differential analyzers at the University of Cambridge Cavendish Lab. Wilkes ran Cambridge's Mathematical Laboratory from 1949 to 1980, during which he directed research away from analog devices towards the development of a stored program computer—EDSAC. He discusses the EDSAC's “technological conservatism” guiding principle, as well as the memory technologies employed. Professor Wilkes describes early efforts in programming the EDSAC, focusing on subroutines and the publication of the first book on programming. Wilkes details his encounters with many other early computers and organizations. Included is “The EDSAC Film” (1951), one of the earliest films explaining the procedures used to submit work to a computer. The lecture concludes with questions from the audience.