Small Scale Experimental Machine

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It was the 21st of June, 1948, when after several unsuccessful trials the first stored-program digital computer ran, and solved a mathematical problem, first. It was called Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine (SSEM), or The Baby - since it became a foundation for further research and development in the field, and created a ground for these familiar to everyone computers we know now.


The memory was to be tested in order to prepare for creating Manchester Mark 1 computer (Hilpert, 2002), so in general SSEM was a prototype of Mark 1.
The Baby, a computer with 128 bytes of memory (Relph-Knight, 2008), was built at the Victoria University of Manchester in order to test the features of the memory - its speed, reliability, and feasibility. The machine was created under the influence of John Von Neumann's work - he was designing a machine that would use an RCA storage device named Selectron. It also was a tube, a large vacuum one, and worked by means of electrostatic charge storage of 4096 bits. However, Von Neumann did not manage to run the Selectron (Relph-Knight).
The designers of SSEM used the random access properties of the memory in order to store both data for digital calculations and, actually, program instructions (Tiangha, 2003). This idea and its realization lead the scientists to the realization of the stored program concept which later became a founding principle for the future computers which we use every day now. SSEM stored its information on the cathode ray tube - similar to the ones used in TV (Johnson, 2008), or radar screens used at that time.
During the War scientists developed a delay line memory - the signa ...
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