The WITCH-E Project
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A good friend of the Museum, who lives in the USA, has been so taken by the WITCH computer, the oldest working digital computer in the world, that he is creating an virtual version. Here is Dave Anders explanation and a video of his most recent progress.
The WITCH-E project attempts to study the engineering aspects of the WITCH and exploit its educational value. As part of the project, we aim to accumulate educational materials in the form of videos, literature, and tools, such as WITCH-E emulator and WITCH simulators etc, so that the technology behind the WITCH, the oldest original working computer in the world, which is fundamental and at the core of all modern computer systems, can be brought demonstrated and explored.
The Harwell WITCH serves as a unique and important step in computing history. With this in mind, the ability to study the engineering, math, logic, and computing principles used to create the WITCH should be part of educational experiences of today's students. Unfortunately, the WITCH does use extremely high voltages, is very large, and uses many components that are no longer available. To make the WITCH available to students, the replica projects aims to create educational blocks that explain and/or demonstrate core principles used in the design and implementation of the computer.
To learn more about the ongoing project, see Dave's Project pages.
Dave plans to be at the Museum on Saturday 25 March 2017, so if you would like to meet him, drop us an email.
- Logical Block Replication - wave forms and timings should replicate the original design as closely as possible.
- 7400 Series Components - 7400 series components should be in every place possible to provide essential basics of operation
- Portable - the completed design should be able to be easily assembled, disassembled, and stored for travel.
- Stand Alone Operations - each replica block should operate as a stand alone education tool to demonstrate at least one aspect of the design.
- Tutorials - Creation of tutorials, exercises, and lesson plans for usage in educational environments.
- Licensing - All new documentation, design files, and components lists to be release under Creative Commons license.
- Accuracy - the design MUST run all programs exactly as if they were run on the original