Oral history of British science
Edwards, David (Dai) (Part 7 of 13). An Oral History of British Science.
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Computer Software; Electronics
Interviewee's home, Preston
Edwards, David B.G., 1928- (speaker, male)
Lean, Thomas (speaker, male)
Part 7: Comments on design and manufacture of random access read only memory. [03:45] Comments on differences of opinion on memory with visiting NRDC committee. Remarks on NRDC committee, including Cooke Yarborough from Harwell and Maurice Wilkes, and their lack of attention to practical economic concerns. Remarks on TK's opinion. Remarks of possibilities for compromise and Atlas being based on available technology. [09:10] Comments on Ferranti's involvement with Muse from 1959, with reference to Sir Vincent Ferranti, Sir Basil Ferranti and Tom Kilburn. Remarks on renaming of Muse as Atlas and desire to see university work implemented. [13:00] Comments on experimental work on single level store, problems with drum memory, trips to STC to investigate problems with drum read-heads, purchasing drums from United States. [18:30] Remarks on memory capacity. Comments on contacts with Ferranti: Basil and Sebastian Ferranti; Peter Hall, manager of the West Gorton factory; engineers, such as Evan Warburton and Gordon Haley. Mentions a problem with a mis-soldered pin. [21:30] Remarks on proposed uses for Atlas in aeronautics, crystallography, meteorology, and selling a machine to Harwell for use in atomic energy. Remarks on commercial prospects for Atlas being the concern of Ferranti not the university. [24:20] Describes development of Atlas, with reference to its asynchronous operation and portable test apparatus. Short story about fixing a problem with the B-memory detected by a crystallographer [30:10] Story about solving a problem with Atlas's complicated power supply. [33:30] Comments about origins of one level store, with reference to users, Tony Brooker, page files and learning program. [39:30] Short anecdote about neighbours not believing he worked for the University due to his working overnight shifts. Further comments about working overnight and working hours over Atlas period. [42:10] Remarks on other duties during the Atlas period: lecturing, tutorials, running electronics laboratory. Further comments on running electronics laboratory. Comments on balance of daily activities with research and development, with reference to departmental management of research and teaching staff. [48:40] Describes computing's place in electrical engineering department in Dover Street. Remarks on movement of computing and electronic staff, with reference to Eric Laithweight. Remarks on servomechanisms, heavy electronic and vacuum engineering. [51:40] Mentions computer science forming as a separate department in 1964, with first students in 1965. Remarks on needing properly skilled students as a reason for separating computing. Remarks on perceived bias of Manchester toward computer engineering by other universities. Remarks on purpose of Manchester computing course to develop computers, on computer content in electrical engineering course, on start of computing as a degree. Mentions F.C. Williams writing a reference for him for IEE membership and IE status of courses.
Interview with computer scientist and electrical engineer David (Dai) Edwards.