29 Apr '16, 3pm

The Ferranti Mark 1: World’s First Commercially Available General-Purpose Computer https://t.co/m0oaNUhlID

The Ferranti Mark 1: World’s First Commercially Available General-Purpose Computer https://t.co/m0oaNUhlID

Photo: Raymond Kleboe/Picture Post/Getty Images The Ferranti Mark 1 was the first commercially available general-purpose computer. The one shown in this 1955 photo—a slightly improved model known as the Ferranti Mark 1*—was used to help forecast election results, calculate wages, and produce actuarial tables, among other things. Based on the Manchester Mark 1 and built by Ferranti Ltd., the huge machine was housed in two spacious bays, each 5 meters long, 2.4 meters high, and 1 meter wide, with a control desk at one end. Inside were 4,000 electronic valves (or vacuum tubes), 2,500 capacitors, 15,000 resistors, and nearly 10 kilometers of wiring. It consumed 27 kilowatts of power and operated at a base clock frequency of 100 kilohertz. The Ferranti Mark 1’s unique memory system (part of which is shown above) could store just over a kilobyte of data in cathode-ray tubes for ...

Full article: http://spectrum.ieee.org/geek-life/history/the-ferranti-m...

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