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Small Scale Experimental Machine

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...
As a result, left were only the residual signals to contain the images of the moving objects (Turing, 1937). Computers working with this type of a memory could store only limited amounts of data, were expensive, and very demanding in maintenance. Besides, they provided sequential access to information instead of random one which was considered to be more efficient.
The creation of the Williams Tube itself was a result of William's observing an experiment that had been conducted at Bell Labs, where they used cathode ray tubes working with radars. They developed the tube as an analog for a delay line memory.
At the same time Williams was realizing that development of a device for electronic storage of data was crucially important for the further development of electronic digital computers. Therefore, while working at Telecommunications Research Establishment, in 1946 Williams started work on designing his own, modified, type of such a tube in an attempt to use it as a computer storage device, which, finally, proved to be successful (The Computer Conservation Society, 1992).
Williams designed the 'memory' in such a way that it read the charge and rewrote it continuously at electronic speeds. This allowed the data to be kept permanently, and finally this sequence of actions was called 'regeneration'. Afterwards it was implemented in contemporary RAMs to replenish charge (The University of Manchester, 1998-1999). So, the next step was to build a computer that would be able to use the created memory.
According to Relph-Knight (2008) the predecessor of Manchester Small-Scale Experimental Machine was secret Colossus machine used during the war for decoding German messages. It was a pre-programmed heavily wired machine which was able to deal with a small number ...Show more

Summary

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.
Author : kathrynwalsh
Small Scale Experimental Machine essay example
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