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”
The presentation is an historical reconstruction of the procedures to ensure validity and program correctness in the early examples of business computers: the focus of the talk is the hardware testing, data validation and program correctness techniques designed for LEO I and II in the UK during the 1950s. Continue reading “Validity and Correctness in LEO I and II”
Abstract of the paper presented at the 4th HaPoC – History and Philosophy of Computing conference in Brno, 3-7 October 2017.
Coping with the “American giants”: mergers, relationships and attempted partnerships in the European computer industry in the early Sixties
During the 1950s, a fragmented computer industry grew up in Europe. After the enthusiasm and pioneering in a brand new business like computers, at the beginning of the 1960s these companies were weakened by several issues, such as the financial crisis and the pressure of US competitors like IBM and General Electric. The investments in R&D were not fully refunded by the income from machines sales after several years. The growth of a computer company, in fact, was often doomed by these costs and very often also by lack of proper marketing experience in a totally brand new field. Continue reading “Coping with the “American giants””
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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