The history of computing

Mon 24 October, 2022 @ 10:30 – 12:00
La Senieta
Speaker: Mike Granville

A non-technical look at the history of computing from the abacus to the quantum computer and the story of the key individuals involved.

Today’s business computers are soulless. They even have a soulless name –“servers”.  We talk to them every time we Google something on our pc, but we’re not aware of it.  They hold vast amounts of data and work at incredible speeds, and when bunched together in server centre they generate so much heat that many are being located in the Arctic to save on refrigeration.  But who cares?

It hasn’t always been like that.  In the 1960s computers had rows of colourful switches and flashing lights, like the bridge on the Tardis.  They emitted a barely perceptible, sinister, hum.    Much more fun.

Come along on 24th October and hear Mike Granville answer these and other questions:

  • What place does Ada Lovelace, daughter of the poet Byron, have in the history of computing?
  • Was what Alan Turing helped devise in Bletchley Park to break the German’s Enigma code the first modern computer?  Why was it destroyed after the war?
  • Which science fiction author first predicted the modern computer (it’s not who you think)?
  • Is it true that your phone has more computing power than the first lunar lander?
  • Who is that Ernie bloke and why does he never pick your Premium Bonds?