Feeds

A history of personal computing in 20 objects part 1

From the 17th Century to the 1970s

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

The War Years...

Zuse Z3

Zuse Z3 reconstruction at Deutsches Museum, München

Source: Venusianer/WikiMedia

Reg Hardware retro numbers

Devised by Konrad Zuse (1910–1995) in 1941, the Z3 was the world's first programmable electromechanical digital computer. It was built in Berlin and was used to analyse aircraft wing designs. Nominally a general-purpose machine, it nonetheless featured an instruction set heavily oriented to solving engineering problems. The Z3 comprised 2000 electric relay switches to store and operate on binary numbers. Programs and data were stored on punched film, and it was able to crunch five to ten numbers a second. The Z3 continued in operation until 1943 when it was destroyed in an Allied air raid. Zuse went on to develop the Z4, a more advanced version of the Z3, and to pioneer computer design on through the 1950s and 1960s.

Colossus

Colossus

Source: Timitrius

Reg Hardware retro numbers

Colossus, the first electronic programmable digital computer, was created in 1943 by Post Office engineer Tommy Flowers (1905-1998) and others as a faster, more reliable alternative to the electro-mechanical rigs then being used to compare German coded military messages with the entire possible output of the Nazis’ Lorentz cypher machine. Flowers believed his electronic machine could don the job more quickly and more reliably, and when it was put to work in 1944 it quickly proved itself a success. It was able to compare message at 5000 characters per second, almost three times the speed of the electro-mechanical system. Flowers immediately began work on an improved model which formed the basis for nine more machines installed in code-breaking centre Bletchley Park throughout the remainder of the War. Flowers’ work remained a secret until the 1970s.

ENIAC

ENIAC programmers, photo: US Army
Reg Hardware retro numbers

ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) began life in 1943 as a University of Pennsylvania project to devise a machine capable of calculating ballistic firing solutions for the US Army, though it was first used for hydrogen bomb design calculations. Conceived by John Mauchly and J Presper Eckert, ENIAC was completed after World War II in 1946 and so its existence 1946 was made public in a way Colossus and the Z3 never could be. Designed as a general purpose computing machine, ENIAC contained almost 17,500 vacuum tubes, and used IBM punch cards to present results and to take in input data. Data was stored not in binary form but as decimal numbers. Like Colossus, ENIAC was programmed by setting switches and wiring.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Nexus 7 fandroids tell of salty taste after sucking on Google's Lollipop
Web giant looking into why version 5.0 of Android is crippling older slabs
All aboard the Poo Bus! Ding ding, route Number Two departing
Only another three days of pooing and I can have a ride!
Heyyy! NICE e-bracelet you've got there ... SHAME if someone were to SUBPOENA it
Court pops open cans of worms and whup-ass in Fitbit case
Official: European members prefer to fondle Apple iPads
Only 7 of 50 parliamentarians plump for Samsung Galaxy S
Fujitsu CTO: We'll be 3D-printing tech execs in 15 years
Fleshy techie disses network neutrality, helmet-less motorcyclists
Space Commanders rebel as Elite:Dangerous kills offline mode
Frontier cops an epic kicking in its own forums ahead of December revival
The IT Crowd's internet in a box gets $240k of crowdcash for a cause
'Outernet' project proposes satellite-fuelled 'Lantern' WiFi library for remote areas
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.