[SIGCIS-Members] Fwd: News - The winners of the 2014 Tony Sale Award for computer conservation

Brian Randell brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk
Fri Nov 7 03:54:29 PST 2014


I thought this news release might be of interest to SIGCIS members.


Brian Randell

Begin forwarded message:

NEWS RELEASE from the Computer Conservation Society

The winners of the 2014 Tony Sale Award for computer conservation are …
a virtual 1930’s mechanical computer
and a restored industry-changing computer.

7 November 2014

The 2014 Tony Sale Award for computer conservation has been jointly awarded to two outstanding and contrasting entries representing computing in the 1930s and the late 1950s.

The winners are the IBM 1401 Demo Lab, a restoration of one of the most significant machines in computer history by the Computer History Museum in California, and Z1 Architecture and Algorithms, a virtual reconstruction of the 1930’s Konrad Zuse mechanical computer, by the Free University of Berlin.

Run by the Computer Conservation Society and sponsored by Google UK, this is the second Tony Sale Award for computer conservation. The first was won in 2012 by Dr David Link for LoveLetters, a computer art installation that continues to tour the world.

In announcing the 2014 winners, Martin Campbell-Kelly, computer historian and head of the judging panel, said: “The eight excellent entries for the 2014 Tony Sale Award from four different countries clearly demonstrates how computer conservation is flourishing more than 20 years after Tony Sale embarked on his pioneering and awe-inspiring reconstruction of a Colossus Mk II, a world-famous exhibit at The National Museum of Computing on Bletchley Park.”

The IBM 1401 Demo Lab is a classic reconstruction of a 50-year old commercial computer. It marked the transition of IBM as a supplier of accounting machines to it becoming the dominant supplier of the mainframe era. Announced in 1959, the IBM 1401’s success took everyone by surprise. The company had expected to sell or lease about 1,000, but went on to deliver 15,000 and by the mid-1960s they amounted to half of the computers in the world. Its high-speed chain printer was a key to its success -- punched card machines were eagerly traded in for the IBM 1401 and business computing took a huge stride forward.

In a project involving 20 volunteers over ten years, two 1401s have been restored at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. The computers and the ancillary equipment including the famous 1403 chain printer are on permanent display and the working system is demonstrated twice a week. Seehttp://www.computerhistory.org/atchm/restoring-the-ibm-1401/ for more information about the project.

The judging panel said: “The IBM Demo Lab is a flawless restoration of a machine that signalled a turning point in the computer industry and the use of computers in business.”

Z1 Architecture and Algorithms, the other joint-winner, is a virtual reconstruction of one of the world’s earliest computers, the Z1. Originally built in 1936-38, the Z1 was destroyed in a bombing raid in 1943. In the 1980s and then in his 70s, Konrad Zuse embarked on a reconstruction of the Z1 which is now a remarkable but static exhibit at the Technology Museum in Berlin. However, with 30,000 parts the reconstruction of the mechanical computer was unlikely to be robust or reliable enough for regular operation, so a team led by Professor Raul Rojas began a virtual reconstruction with a technical description.

Through the meticulous research of Professor Rojas, a team of his students was able to construct a 3D visual simulation of the arithmetic unit for deployment on the web. In addition, hundreds of high resolution photos of the Z1 enable web users to explore the machine from any angle at very high resolution. See http://zuse-z1.zib.de/ for the virtual reconstruction.

The judging panel said “Z1 Architecture and Algorithms is a remarkable vision of how such complex artefacts might be delivered to a worldwide audience. It is a project that will undoubtedly give museum curators pause for thought.”

Rachel Burnett, Chair of the CCS, said “The late Tony Sale would have been delighted with the entries that we have had in the year of the silver jubilee of our Society that he co-founded with Doron Swade.

“The computer conservation movement is dynamic and growing apace. Through the Tony Sale Award, we salute the computing pioneers of the past and the dedication of those today who breathe vibrant life into our incredible computing heritage.”

Notes to Editors

1              The Computer Conservation Society

Established in 1989, the Computer Conservation Society (CCS) started as a joint venture between BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, the Science Museum and later the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester. In recent years The National Museum of Computing has become a key partner.

2              The CCS Judging panel

Martin Campbell-Kelly, computer historian, was joined in the 2014 panel of judges by Chris Burton, engineer and computer conservationist , Nigel Sale, computer scientist and son of Tony Sale, and Doron Swade MBE, museum curator and author.

3          Links to other nominated entries for the 2014 Tony Sale Award

The Analogue Computing Museum collection in Schwalbach, Germany.

The Jim Austin Computer Collection in York, England.

The restoration of 1970s DEC PDP computers at The Rhode Island Computer Museum (RICM), Rhode Island, USA.

The PRS 4, a restoration of a 1973 Polish micro-computer at the Muzem Historii Komputerow i Informatyki (MHKI) in Katowice, Poland.

The Technikum29 Computer History Museum collection in Frankfurt am Main, Germany.

The WITCH-E project, a trans-Atlantic educational project, by David Anders.

4          About Tony Sale

Tony Sale (1931-2011), in whose honour the computer conservation award has been established, is perhaps best known for leading the team that rebuilt Colossus, the world's first electronic computer. He was also a key figure in starting the campaign to save Bletchley Park in the early 1990s, he co-founded The National Museum of Computing and jointly established the Computer Conservation Society.

Media Contact
Stephen Fleming, Palam Communications, for the Computer Conservation Society
+44 1635 299116
s.fleming at palam.co.uk<mailto:s.fleming at palam.co.uk>

School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
EMAIL = Brian.Randell at ncl.ac.uk<mailto:Brian.Randell at ncl.ac.uk>   PHONE = +44 191 208 7923
URL = http://www.ncl.ac.uk/computing/staff/profile/brian.randell

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.sigcis.org/pipermail/members-sigcis.org/attachments/20141107/852da102/attachment-0001.htm>

More information about the Members mailing list