It's IN the computer?

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CSIRAC at Scienceworks Melbourne

CSIRAC is the only intact first-generation computer surviving anywhere in the world.

I took the kids to check out Scienceworks which is a Science Museum run by Museums Victoria, in Melbourne. They have an extensive collection of interactive scientific displays covering the past, present, and future of science and technology, and is a really fun place to visit with or without kids. There's a planetarium, lightning room with show, massive kids play areas with various electronic and physical interactive pieces, sports science area with incredibly fun systems to test your strength, reflexes, agility, flexibility, etc, and lots more.

One of the main things that really caught my eye, was CSIRAC (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation Automatic Computer), which was the fourth computer ever built in the world, and was designed and built here in Australia. It ran it's first successful test run in November of 1949, and is now sitting in Scienceworks claiming the spot of the only intact first-generation computer left anywhere on earth.

CSIRAC was also the first computer to ever play music, which I thought was really cool.

For a long time, it was believed that computer music was pioneered by Max Matthews in 1957, at Bell Telephone Laboratories in the United States.

However in mid-2004 composer and sonologist Paul Doornbusch proved that the first computer to play music was CSIRAC, in its earlier guise as the CSIR Mk1. While the exact date was not recorded, this occurred sometime during 1950. The computer’s first public performances, of the popular tune Colonel Bogey, took place on 7-9 August 1951, at the inaugural Conference of Automatic Computing Machines in Sydney. (Source)

Here are some photos I took of the old beast:


Posted on in RetroTech with the tags: retrotech hardware

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