EDSAC passes half-way infrastructure milestone


A milestone was reached this week: 70 of the EDSAC chassis are now in place -- that's 50% of the total. Later this month, the display will be officially declared open by Hermann Hauser and the first parts of the machine will be commissioned.

The EDSAC project is on schedule for completion towards the end of 2015. In February this year, all 12 of the tall metal racks which support the individual chassis of electronics had been manufactured and installed. Each rack can hold up to 14 chassis and it is expected that a total of 142 chassis will be required. Seventy of them were in place this week and many have been tested in standalone form. Further systems level testing is being done as each chassis is connected into its place in the computer.

Workshops, sheds and even at their kitchen tables across the country have been called into action to build and test each chassis. Each takes a skilled volunteer five to ten days to assemble, wire and check, so that means that the chassis assembly work alone for the whole of EDSAC will have taken between three and four person-years.

The next milestone will be later this month when the input and output will be demonstrated with the help of a very modern piece of kit -- a Raspberry Pi.

Visitors to the Museum can see EDSAC progress any time the Museum is open to the general public. On weekdays, school groups from across the country are amazed to see the huge technology that preceded their smartphones.

A complete set of short top quality videos tracing the Project's progress can be found on You Tube. The videos have been made by David Allen, producer of the 1980's computer literacy BBC TV series.