In memory of Peter Bird

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Peter Bird, a director of Lyons Computer Services, charted the food company’s pioneering introduction of computers. Source: The Guardian UK

Peter Bird worked for J. Lyons & Co. from 1964 to 1991. He published his book LEO: The First Business Computer in 1994 and later an extensive book about Lyons in 2000.
We met Peter Bird in October 2016 at his house in Wokingham. We had a productive day, discussing about his books on Lyons and LEO. A day full of hints and suggestions, going through his collection of photos of LEO people and machines. Peter passed away on the 16th August 2017. Continue reading “In memory of Peter Bird”

LEO plaque unveiling in London

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Professor Frank Land and Dame Stephanie Shirley. Photo: LEO Computers Society

On November 29th 2016 we attended the unveiling of a commemorative plaque for LEO – Lyons Electronic Office. The plaque is located in Lyons Walk, W14 0QH, former location of Cadby Hall, the factory complex and the headquarters of J. Lyons & Co and LEO I’s home in Hammersmith.

The engraved stone has been generously funded by Tony Morgan, who was Commissioning Manager at LEO Computers Ltd. and is now Technical Consultant to the LEO Computers Society.

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Celebration of LEO I’s first routine job

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LEO I (Lyons Electronic Office). Source: Modern Records Centre, University of Warwick

On November 29th, 2016 LEO Computer Society will unveil a plaque commemorating LEO I on the 65th anniversary of its first business routine run in Lyons Walk, Olympia, London. The location is close to the former location of Cadby Hall, the major office and factory complex in Hammersmith, London, which was the headquarters of J. Lyons & Co and LEO’s first home.

Eric Schmidt and LEO computers at LSE

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On Friday October 14th, 2016 the London School of Economics hosted Eric Schmidt in a public conversation with Chrisanthi Avgerou, with title: From LEO to DeepMind: Britain’s computing pioneers.

Eric Schmidt, American software engineer and businessman, is the executive chairman of Alphabet, Inc., American multinational conglomerate founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin and parent company of Google, among others. As an intern at Bell Labs, Schmidt did a complete re-write of Lex, a software program to generate lexical analysers for the UNIX computer operating system. From 1997 to 2001, he was CEO of Novell. In 2001 Eric Schmidt joined Google, where he served as CEO until 2011 and helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology.

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From LEO to DeepMind @ London School of Economics

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LEO II/1 – Peter Wood at the tabulator and Kate Keen at the control desk. Source: Leo Computers Society

On Friday October 14th, 2016, 6.30-7.30 PM the London School of Economics is hosting the event:
From LEO to DeepMind: Britain’s computing pioneers, organized by the Department of Management LSE and LEO Computers Society.
Alphabet executive chairman Eric Schmidt will discuss progress in CS education and digital skills, and the opportunities that flow from the next wave of British computing innovation in machine learning. Join Eric in conversation with Professor Chrisanthi Avgerou, Professor of Information Systems at LSE’s Department of Management and Programme Director of LSE’s MSc Management, Information Systems and Digital Innovation.

This event is free and open to all however a ticket is required: more info available on LSE website.

Paper presented @ HaPoP3

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A paper titled “Data Validation: a historical comparative study from the business computing industry” was presented by Rabia Arif and Giuseppe Primiero at the Third Workshop on the History and Philosophy of Programming, held at CNAM in Paris on 25th of June 2016. This paper represents the first results in the latest installment of the David Caminer Postgraduate Scholarship in Business Computing.

The Story of LEO Computers @ London Metropolitan Archives

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LEO II/2 – W.D. & H.O. Wills. Source: Leo Computers Society

On Wednesday June 22nd, 2016 2-3 PM, at the London Metropolitan Archives Neville Lyons will give a talk about LEO Computers series. LEO 1 is the very first business computer, designed and manufactured by Lyons & Co. The speaker, a relative of the company’s co-founder Joseph Lyons will depict the profiles of some key individuals involved and how some leading industrial companies and government departments seized upon the invention and purchased models of this new ‘electronic brain’. Moreover, a video will be shown featuring programmers and designers who were involved in the early days of LEO.
Tickets and info available on Eventbrite

Final Project in Business Information System on LEO I @ MDX Mauritius

Mr. Henry-Jones W. Johnson, student in the BSc in Business Information Systems at Middlesex University Mauritius has completed his studies with a final project titled “LEO 1 – Recreating the World’s First Business Computer”. Henry-Jones was supervised by Dr. Amar Seeam. The project included an historical overview of the context in which LEO I was built and entered production, and a Java-Based simulation for some operations available on the original machine.