Simple Pleasures part 2

by arkangel

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you can't beat the Simple Pleasures of life...

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Colossus

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Tony Sale who has taken 14 years to rebuild Colossus Mark 2 (1944), the world's first programmable computer. It went head to head against a Pentium 2 last November. The latter cracked an encoded message in 45 seconds. The former in 3 and a half hours. Given whatever you call that law about the progress in memory capacity over time, I think that means Colossus in still awesomely fast.

arkangel says:

Believe he passed on to the next dimension a couple of weeks ago.

5th Apr 2008, 18:46

arkangel says:

It is indeed.

5th Apr 2008, 19:07

mat says:

That. Is. Awesome.

You're probably thinking of Moore's Law. Although it doesn't, strictly speaking, apply in the case of Colossus, as it didn't even have any transistors, let alone microchips. Valves ftw!

5th Apr 2008, 19:20

arkangel says:

I kind of knew that - it doesn't actually have any memory, that's what the tape-loop is for in the background of the other shot - but I'm still pretty sure that's very fast when you make allowances for time. 64 years is a very long time in computers.

5th Apr 2008, 20:10

hildegard says:

Hats off to a proper boffin cardi as well.

5th Apr 2008, 20:49

effcee says:

That is so. Freakin'. Awesome. Wow.

5th Apr 2008, 23:19

arkangel says:

The whole thing is made from old bits of telephone exchange. Some of the valves still date back to the war. They have it set up so that only about 4 or 5 valves blow a year, they have set them up very carefully to avoid sudden switches on/off.

6th Apr 2008, 09:25

retrogal says:

I remember Strowger telephone exchanges in the 1970's that used very similar equipment (uni selectors etc). Unlike the valves the electromechanical bits lasted forever.

20th Apr 2012, 16:53

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