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Mammoth computer found in closet in Australia

Boffins think we will see it browse again

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Melbourne newspaper The Sunday Age is reporting that a computer weighing 2000 kilograms and an incredible 52 years old has been found in a dusty warehouse in Australia.

This means a working computer has been discovered that is even older than veteran Register staffer Mike Magee. And, according to the newspaper, boffins are racing to get the beast, called CSIRAC, back in action again. The newspaper says that CSIRAC, one of the oldest computer acronyms and one which people have completely forgotten the meaning of, is the only intact first generation machine in the world.*

The boffins are racing against time to re-boot the machine in time for an exhibition to be held in Melbourne next year, The Sunday Age reports.

But CSIRAC, like many now extinct creatures, was slow on its feet and small-brained, consuming 30 kilowatts an hour, and with a tiny brain with only 1024 bytes of memory. The mammoth covered 40 square metres and was noticeable for its huge cabling, technically known as tusks, which were what first alerted the boffins to its existence. It is believed that the entire race of first generation computers was completely wiped out by a meteor called Intel which laid waste both the mammoths and the smaller midis in the early 1980s.

The complete story from The Sunday Age can be found here. ®

See also

The guide to Register acronyms

* A reader writes: The meaning of the acronym has not completely disappeared, since according to this site. It was originally called the CSIR Mark 1, which stands for: "Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Mark 1". This was considered too bland and they creatively renamed it to CSIRAC, which stands for: "Council for Scientific and Industrial Research Automatic Computer".

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