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Issue No.04 - October-December (1992 vol.14)
pp: 49-56
ABSTRACT
<p>EDSAC 2, which came into operation early in 1958, was designed by the team that had successfully built and operated EDSAC 1, and embodied the experience obtained with that machine. EDSAC 2 was the first computer to have a microprogrammed control unit, and it established beyond doubt the viability of microprogramming as a basis for computer design - this in spite of the fact that vacuum tubes were far from ideal for the purpose. At the mechanical level of organization, EDSAC 2 was packaged in a bit-sliced manner, with interchangeable plug-in units. This method of packaging was well matched to the vacuum tube technology of the period, and its expected advantages - arising from the replication of units - were fully realized. The article gives a description of the principal hardware features of EDSAC 2.</p>
CITATION
Maurice V. Wilkes, "Edsac 2", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.14, no. 4, pp. 49-56, October-December 1992, doi:10.1109/85.194055
REFERENCES
1. Wilkes, M. V. 1985.Memoirs of a Computer Pioneer. Cambridge, MA, MIT Press.
2. M.V. Wilkes, "The Best Way to Design an Automatic Computing Machine,"Manchester University Computer, Inaugural Conference, July 1951, pp. 16-18; reprinted inAnnals of the History of Computing, Vol. 8, 1986, pp. 118-121, and inThe Early British Computer Conferences, M.R. Williams and M. Campbell-Kelly, eds., Charles Babbage Inst. Reprint Series for the History of Computing, Vol. 14, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., and Tomash Publishers, Los Angeles, 1989, pp. 182-184.
3. M.V. Wilkes,Automatic Digital Computers, Methuen, London, 1956.
4. M.V. Wilkes, W. Renwick, and D.J. Wheeler, "The Design of the Control Unit of an Electronic Digital Computer,"Proc. IEE, Vol. 105B, 1958, pp. 121-128.
5. M.V. Wilkes, M. Phister, and S.A. Barton, "Experience with Marginal Checking and Automatic Routining of the EDSAC,"IRE Convention Record, Part 7, 1953, p. 66. Also inInt'l Symp. Automatic Digital Computation, National Physical Laboratory, Mar. 1953, pp. 16-18; reprinted inThe Early British Computer Conferences, M.R. Williams and M. Campbell-Kelly, eds., Charles Babbage Inst. Reprint Series for the History of Computing, Vol. 14, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., and Tomash Publishers, Los Angeles, 1986, pp. 446-452.
6. M.V. Wilkes, "Pure and Applied Programming,"Proc. ACM Nat'l Conf.(Toronto, Sept. 1952), ACM, New York, 1952, pp. 121-124.
7. M.V. Wilkes, "The Use of a Floating Address System for Orders in an Automatic Digital Computer,"Proc. Cambridge Philosophical Society, Vol. 49, 1953, pp. 84-89.
8. University Mathematical Laboratory,Programming for EDSAC 2, Cambridge, UK, 1958, 2nd edition 1959, pp. 56-57.
9. Bashe, C. J., L. R. Johnson, J. H. Palmer, and E. W. Pugh. 1986.IBM's Early Computers. Cambridge, Mass., The MIT Press.
10. M.V. Wilkes and D.J. Wheeler, "Auxiliary Storage on Magnetic Tape in EDSAC 2,"Congresso Internacional de Automatica(Madrid, 1958), 1961, p. 185.
11. M.V. Wilkes and D.W. Willis, "A Magnetic Tape Storage System for the EDSAC,"Proc. IEE, Vol. 103B, Supplement No. 2, 1956, pp. 337-345.
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