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Primeur weekly 2012-12-10

The Cloud

Bull awarded for best Private Cloud project ...

Bull launches a new private Cloud data protection service ...

Bull extends its Le cloud by Bull offering, to help organisations reap the full benefit of the Cloud ...

Drag-and-Drop DNA: Novel technique aiding development of new cancer drugs ...

Galaxy on Cloud ...

IBM expands the power of social business with new Cloud and mobile advances ...

Oracle unveils Cloud and consolidation capabilities for Oracle SPARC SuperCluster ...

Desktop Grids

Call for Proposals for Open PhD Competition in Extreme Citizen Science ...

Crucial step in AIDS virus maturation simulated for first time ...

EuroFlash

SMB Engys buys hosted server cluster ...

HP harnesses the power of Big Data with new information optimization solutions ...

HP extends Converged Cloud Portfolio for hybrid delivery environments ...

HP redefines storage simplicity with single architecture for enterprises of all sizes ...

Sogeti consolidates client delivery centre infrastructure seeking business growth with IBM PureSystems ...

University of Manchester is celebrating supercomputing 50 years on ...

projectiondesign F32 projectors visualize the future for Petrobras Research Centres ...

Bismuth provides perfect dance partners for quantum computing qubits ...

USFlash

BP to build U.S. facility to house largest commercial research supercomputer in the world ...

Eurocom ships world's first 8-Core Intel Xeon E5-2690 based 12lbs supercomputer laptop ...

HP acknowledges global mission-critical computing innovators ...

Nextra Teleservices calls for IBM PureSystems over HP to deliver new high-speed broadband services in India ...

University of Kentucky takes academic supercomputing to next level ...

NCAR Officials to address supercomputer allocation use in 2013 ...

Interactive One connects with Oracle Database Appliance to meet high-traffic demands ...

Raritan announces first industry standard 802.11 Wi-Fi solution for intelligent power and environment ...

Grant creates science demilitarized zone at San Diego State University ...

University of Manchester is celebrating supercomputing 50 years on

3 Dec 2012 Manchester - Developed at the University of Manchester between 1956 and 1963, the Atlas computer was at the time the most powerful in the world. The first production Atlas was inaugurated at the University on 7 December 1962 by Sir John Cockcroft, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist who was Director of the UK's Atomic Energy Authority.

Scientists and engineers who worked on the Atlas attended the celebrations, which included demonstrations of the 1948 Manchester Baby - the world's first stored-programme computer currently housed at the Museum of Science and Industry - an exhibition of Atlas artefacts, talks by pioneers and presentations on current Computer Science research.

Among the attendees were a number of people who used the Atlas computer during their studies at the University of Manchester in the 1960s.

The aim of the Atlas was to build a computer that could operate at processing speeds approaching one microsecond per instruction, about one million instructions per second.

It was claimed that when the first Atlas arrived, it roughly doubled the UK’s computing scientific capability. A total of six Atlas 1 and Atlas 2 computers were delivered between 1962 and 1966.

Professor Simon Lavington, who started using Atlas as a research student in 1962, stated: “The Atlas event will bring together, probably for the last time, a unique group of industrialists, academics and end-users who contributed to a world-class project which brought a huge increase of computing power to the UK's scientific community in the 1960s."

Professor Steve Furber, ICL Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Manchester, stated: "Atlas was in many ways the most remarkable of all of the machines designed at Manchester. Fifty years later, the concept of single-level store - what we now call virtual memory - is vital to the operation of everything from smart phones to supercomputers, and we owe that idea to the Atlas designers. Manchester built the world's first stored programme computer, the Baby, in 1948, but it's important to remember that that wasn't our only contribution. Atlas was spectacularly fast for its day and highly innovative, and we are still building exciting new machines here to this day."

Speaking of the Atlas Operating System which was called the Supervisor, Hugh Devonald who headed Ferranti's Software Division, stated in 1962: "The 'Supervisor' is the most ambitious attempt ever made to control automatically the flow of work through a computer. Its ability to handle the varied workloads that a machine of this size tackles will influence the future design of all computers. Atlas is in fact claimed to be the world's most powerful computing system. By such a claim it is meant that, if Atlas and any of its rivals were presented simultaneously with similar large sets of representative computing jobs, Atlas should complete its set ahead of all other computers."

The Science Research Council installed an Atlas at its Chilton Computer Laboratory in 1964, for use by the UK's scientific community. By 1966 the Laboratory’s Director, Jack Howlett, was able to write in his annual Report: "In a typical week we run 2,500 jobs, input 800,000 cards and 30 miles of paper tape, print 1.8 million lines of output, punch 50,000 cards, handle 1,200 reels of magnetic tape. We have 250 projects on our books from university users and are usually doing work on 100 of these. Our experience over the past year has shown that the Atlas central processor, with the Supervisor which is an integral part of the system, is an exceedingly powerful and flexible device which deals smoothly and efficiently with a heavy load of very varied work."

In 1975 Bernard Swann, the Ferranti Sales Director, wrote: "One of the remarkable features of the Atlas project was the small number of staff compared with the large numbers employed by IBM."

Robin Kerr, who was part of the Atlas software team and who has worked for many years in America, stated: "The Atlas project produced the patents for Virtual Memory. I would claim that Virtual Memory is the most significant computer design development in the last 50 years. Certainly it is the most widely used."

Recently, George Coulouris who wrote software for Atlas in the 1960s, stated: "The Compiler Compiler was remarkable in many ways. I still find it a quite amazing achievement in terms of the innovations that it contained and the effectiveness of its design and implementation. It encompassed innovative contributions at so many levels, from the very concept of a compiler-compiler to the inclusion of a domain-specific language for applications in system programming and the combination of interpretation with code generation. Its implementation was completed at a time when we had virtually no debugging tools, with only paper tape for inputting programmes, no file storage and certainly no capability for interactive debugging or user interaction. What a tour de force."
Source: University of Manchester

Back to Table of contents

Primeur weekly 2012-12-10

The Cloud

Bull awarded for best Private Cloud project ...

Bull launches a new private Cloud data protection service ...

Bull extends its Le cloud by Bull offering, to help organisations reap the full benefit of the Cloud ...

Drag-and-Drop DNA: Novel technique aiding development of new cancer drugs ...

Galaxy on Cloud ...

IBM expands the power of social business with new Cloud and mobile advances ...

Oracle unveils Cloud and consolidation capabilities for Oracle SPARC SuperCluster ...

Desktop Grids

Call for Proposals for Open PhD Competition in Extreme Citizen Science ...

Crucial step in AIDS virus maturation simulated for first time ...

EuroFlash

SMB Engys buys hosted server cluster ...

HP harnesses the power of Big Data with new information optimization solutions ...

HP extends Converged Cloud Portfolio for hybrid delivery environments ...

HP redefines storage simplicity with single architecture for enterprises of all sizes ...

Sogeti consolidates client delivery centre infrastructure seeking business growth with IBM PureSystems ...

University of Manchester is celebrating supercomputing 50 years on ...

projectiondesign F32 projectors visualize the future for Petrobras Research Centres ...

Bismuth provides perfect dance partners for quantum computing qubits ...

USFlash

BP to build U.S. facility to house largest commercial research supercomputer in the world ...

Eurocom ships world's first 8-Core Intel Xeon E5-2690 based 12lbs supercomputer laptop ...

HP acknowledges global mission-critical computing innovators ...

Nextra Teleservices calls for IBM PureSystems over HP to deliver new high-speed broadband services in India ...

University of Kentucky takes academic supercomputing to next level ...

NCAR Officials to address supercomputer allocation use in 2013 ...

Interactive One connects with Oracle Database Appliance to meet high-traffic demands ...

Raritan announces first industry standard 802.11 Wi-Fi solution for intelligent power and environment ...

Grant creates science demilitarized zone at San Diego State University ...