OBE awarded to Frank Land

Frank Land, a leading member of the LEO team, who then went on to become the UK’s first professor of Information Systems, has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List published today. The award is for services to the Information Systems industry.
At the age of 90, Land, born Landsberger in Berlin, who came to England as a young boy fleeing Nazi Germany, expressed his delight at receiving the award which he sees as “a sign of recognition of the LEO contribution to information systems.” Continue reading “OBE awarded to Frank Land”

LEO Computers Society Reunion, April 7th 2019

The LEO Computers Society 2019 reunion was held on Sunday, 7th April 2019 at the Victory Services Club, Marble Arch. With an attendance of around 80 including some invited guests, the event gave members the opportunity of catching up with colleagues – some from as long ago as the 1950s, including at least half a dozen who had actually worked on LEO I, the world’s first business computer. The Society is in partnership with the Centre for Computing History, Cambridge (CCH), working together on a Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) project to preserve, protect and promote LEO’s story.

Continue reading “LEO Computers Society Reunion, April 7th 2019”

Validity & Correctness Before the OS

Validity and Correctness Before the OS: the Case of LEO I and LEO II
Rabia Arif, Elisabetta Mori, Giuseppe Primiero
Reflections on Programming Systems. Historical and Philosophical Aspects
Edited by Liesbeth De Mol and Giuseppe Primiero
Springer, 2019

Efficient and reliable computing is based on validity and correctness. Techniques to ensure these essential features have been in place since the early days of computing. The present study focuses on the hardware testing, data validation and program correctness techniques designed and implemented for LEO I and II machines in the UK during the 1950s. Continue reading “Validity & Correctness Before the OS”

CfP: HaPoC 2019 in Bergamo

Call for Papers:
HaPoC 2019, 5th International Conference on the History and Philosophy of Computing
October 28-30, 2019
Bergamo, Italy


Today more than ever computers have taken center stage in our lives: science, economy, politics, art, there is no single human endeavour that has been left unaffected by Information Technologies. Whether this impact is positive or negative, is still very much up for debate. Continue reading “CfP: HaPoC 2019 in Bergamo”

CfP: HISTELCON 2019 in Glasgow

HISTELCON (HISTory of ELectrotechnology CONference) is a flagship biennial-conference of the IEEE Region 8 and this is the 6th event to take place. HISTELCON 2019 will be in the IEEE UK and Ireland Section, in Glasgow, Scotland.

The proposed primary theme is ‘historic computers’ with an aim to include papers on those inventions and developments which have not already been the subject of extensive historical publications, and to include the contribution special purpose processors have made to the development and use of advanced digital signal processing methods in many applications areas. Sessions to cover other aspects of technology history in the electrical, electronic and related fields will also be provided for. Continue reading “CfP: HISTELCON 2019 in Glasgow”

CfP: History of Formal Methods 2019

Call for papers: History of Formal Methods 2019 Workshop, 11th October 2019, Porto, Portugal (co-located with Formal Methods 2019)

This is a workshop on the history of formal methods in computing. The aim is to bring together historians of computing, technology, and science with practitioners in the field of formal methods to reflect on the discipline’s history. There will be a round of abstract submission prior to the workshop which will determine who is invited to give a presentation at the workshop. Afterwards, presenters may submit papers based on their presentations for inclusion in the workshop’s proceedings. Continue reading “CfP: History of Formal Methods 2019”

Business computing seminar in Lille

Olivetti Elea 9003. Detail. Photo: Elisabetta Mori

Pierre Mounier-Kuhn
(CNRS, Université Paris-Sorbonne & Centre Alexandre Koyré)
De la mécanographie à l’Informatique de gestion

Elisabetta Mori (Middlesex University, London)
From Academia to Business: LEO computers and Olivetti.
Two case studies in the early European Computer Industry

Histoire et Philosophie de l’informatique et du calcul
MESHS, 2 Rue des Canonniers, 59000 Lille
Info: https://calcul.hypotheses.org/435

Elisabetta Mori
From Academia to Business: LEO computers and Olivetti.
Two case studies in the early European Computer Industry

A common pattern in the growth and development of early Western European computer manufacturers is the collaboration between academia and entrepreneurship. Very often early European computer companies established a joint venture with an academic environment – a university or a research institute. Continue reading “Business computing seminar in Lille”

Mary Lee Woods Berners-Lee, early British computer programmer

Mary Lee and Conway Berners-Lee in 1954. Source: British Library

Mary Lee Woods Berners-Lee (1924-2017) was a British mathematician and computer scientist. After graduating at the University of Birmingham, she got a fellowship at the Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra. Back from Australia, in 1951 she started working for Ferranti as a programmer, in the Ferranti Mark I and I* team at the University of Manchester.

Mary Lee Woods was a champion of women rights almost twenty years before the 1970’s Equal Pay Act. When the female programmers at Ferranti discovered that their male colleagues were being paid more than they were for the same work, she led a successful campaign at Ferranti for equal pay for programmers. Continue reading “Mary Lee Woods Berners-Lee, early British computer programmer”

Launch of ANR project: What is a program?

It is a pleasure to announce the start of the ANR project What is a (computer) program? with a two days event to be held on February 7-8 at MESH, rooms 1 and 2, Espace Baïetto, 2 Rue des Canonniers, Lille.

On February 7th, there will be a session of the Lille-Paris séminaire History and Philosophy of Computer Science and Computing (HEPIC) with participation of Cliff Jones and Samuel Goyet (see here for more details).
On February 8th, there will be the workshop Models between structures and meanings of programs which introduces the project followed by several talks from members of the project. Continue reading “Launch of ANR project: What is a program?”