Lost Systems: Marconi Myriad Computer

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IMP being demonstrated (above)

In the mid-1960s, a Marconi project investigated the usefulness of high speed integrated circuit logic and the IMP ('igh-speed Miniature Processor) was born. It performed so well that it became the basis of a production computer.

This new IMP computer was, for its time, very compact, and was built into a single desk-format cabinet. It was based on the integrated circuit logic designed and built by Ferranti in Manchester.

Two of the designers racked their brains for a name. Deciding that it must begin with an M, for alliteration with Marconi, they plodded through the alphabet – they almost got to the end before hitting on y for the next letter and Myriad for the name.

Myriad Computer

The Museum has been looking for a surviving Myriad computer for many years. The last known example was understood to be in storage on the RAF base at Akrotiri Cyprus in the 1990s where it had been used for Air Traffic Control, but we don't know if it still exists.

If you have any information on any surviving Marconi Myriad machines, or even parts, we would be grateful to learn of their location/s.

Any documentation, sales leaflets, manuals, circuit diagrams etc or any anecdotes on where and how they were used would also be hugely appreciated.

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