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Lost Chunk of Pioneering EDSAC Computer Found

By BBC News

February 5, 2015

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An original part of one of the United Kingdom's pioneering computers has been donated to a project that is working to rebuild the machine.

Robert Little, who lives in Pennsylvania, contacted the team reconstructing the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC) after reading about the project online.

EDSAC was built in the late 1940s to serve scientists at Cambridge University, but little was known about what happened to the machine's parts after it was decommissioned and dismantled in the 1950s. EDSAC was sold at auction, but it was not known who purchased the parts.

Little obtained the Chassis 1A from Cambridge scientist Robert Clarke, who purchased several pieces in the auction with the intention of using them for bookshelves.

"Details of the 'auction' are unclear, but there is a possibility that other parts of the original EDSAC still exist and could even be in the Cambridge area stored away in lofts, garden sheds, and garages," says Andrew Herbert, who is leading the reconstruction project at the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

The team is expected to complete the work by the end of the year.

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