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Renowned Colossus-rebuilder Tony Sale has inspired a new international award for computer conservation, which will be handed out for the first time this year.

Tony Sale

The Computer Conservation Society (CCS) has launched the award in memory of the man who led the project to rebuild the world's first electronic computer, the Colossus, used to break codes during World War II.

Rebuilding the Colossus was an extremely difficult undertaking because the team only had small fragments of information about the steam-punk machine to work with.

Sale was also co-founder of the National Museum of Computing and was part of the team to save Bletchley Park, the site where code-breakers worked during the war.

"When Tony Sale died unexpectedly last year, we felt compelled to celebrate his remarkable computer conservation achievements in some special way," David Hartley, member of the CCS Tony Sale Award committee, said in a canned statement.

"For more than two decades, Tony made a huge contribution in promoting the public understanding of our computer heritage and in showing that computer conservation is a stimulating voyage of discovery rather than a simple recreation of a machine."

The Tony Sale Award will go to a person or group that has "made an outstanding engineering achievement in computer conservation", the CCS said.

"In the hectic, fast-paced world of computing, valuable history simply evaporates," secretary of the CCS, Kevin Murrell, said in a canned statement. "As many computer conservation projects across the world have already discovered, there is lots to be learned in studying the development of hardware and software.

"Through the Tony Sale Award we want to hear of projects large and small that may reveal fascinating aspects of our developing subject."

Anyone from around the world who can show some IT conservation work, preferably in the last three years, which is on display or can be shown publicly, can be nominated before the closing date on 31 July. The trophy will then be presented in October. ®

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