News

Celebration of the 90th Birthday of Frank and Ralph Land

On the 25th October, 2018, the Leo Computers Society held a celebratory lunch to mark the 90th birthday of Ralph and Frank Land, two of the most active members in the Society.

Frank Land became a programmer for LEO in 1952; later was appointed Chief Consultant for LEO Computers and its successors. He is Emeritus Professor of Information Systems at the London School of Economics.

Ralph Land joined LEO Computers in 1959; he was appointed General Manager for Eastern Europe for English Electric and, later, ICL. He was appointed a CBE “for services for export” in 1996.

The lunch took place at The Queen’s Head pub in Brook Green, Hammersmith, just up the road from where Cadby Hall – Lyons headquarters – once stood. Continue reading “Celebration of the 90th Birthday of Frank and Ralph Land”

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?”

Validity and Correctness in LEO I and II

Abstract of the presentation at the roundtable What is a (computer) program? at the prelaunch of the project PROGRAMme in Paris, at the CNAM – Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, on the 20th of October 2017.

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”

Reflections on Identity and Copy of Programs

Abstract of the presentation at the roundtable `What is a (computer) program?’ at the prelaunch of the project PROGRAMme in Paris, at the CNAM – Conservatoire national des arts et métiers, on the 20th of October 2017.

The problem of identity is a long-standing one in philosophy. In turn, it is a crucial one for the Philosophy of Computer Science, and in particular for answering the question ‘what is a program?’. Two major strands in the history of such conceptual investigation can be found. Continue reading “Reflections on Identity and Copy of Programs”

Coping with the “American giants”

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””

CfP HaPoP4

Fourth Symposium on the History and Philosophy of Programming
https://www.shift-society.org/hapop4/

23 March 2018, Mathematical Institute, University of Oxford, UK
Colocated with BSHM Meeting on History of Computing, 22 March 2018
Organised by Commission for the History and Philosophy of Computing
www.hapoc.org

Submission of two-page extended abstracts (including footnotes, but excluding references) are invited. Accepted papers will be given a 30 minute presentation slot including discussion. We intend to publish selected papers in a special journal issue following the symposium.

  • Submission deadline: 1 January 2018
  • Author notification: 2 February 2018
  • HaPoP symposium: 23 March 2018