[SIGCIS-Members] Here it is!

Brian Randell brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk
Wed Jun 8 02:41:03 PDT 2022


Hi Paul

I in fact found three brief published mentions of the Colossus project predating that 1970 article by Jack Good, though neither they nor it revealed the "Colossus" name . This was I believe first revealed to me by Donald Michie.

These revelations are all described, and a full quote of Good's single paragraph summary of Colossus is given, in my 1972 article "On Turing , and the Origins of Digital Computers", a copy of which I attach. (This is the one paper I dared to publish before I managed to get official permission to prepare and submit a paper to the Los Alamos conference.)

I'm pretty sure I was alerted to the existence of Good's paper by Michie - I'm certain that the International Journal of Environmental Studies was not on my personal browsing list! __

Cheers

Brian

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On 07/06/2022, 20:50, "Ceruzzi, Paul" <CeruzziP at si.edu> wrote:


    The first public discussion of the Colossus came several years earlier, in a paper by I. J. "Jack" Good, "Some Future Social Repercussions of Computers," in the journal International Journal of Environmental Studies​ 1 (1970), 67-79. Good worked at Bletchley, although that was not known at the time. His paper talked about the evolution of generations of computers to a point where it would spontaneously say "Cogito Ergo Sum," and then shortly thereafter "I am that I am" (Book of Exodus, King James edition). Good's ideas also found their way into 2001, a Space Odyssey​_ where he served as a consultant to Kubrick.

    I came across the paper a year or two later at the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City. 

    Paul Ceruzzi
    ________________________________________
    From: Dag Spicer <dspicer at computerhistory.org>
    Sent: Tuesday, June 7, 2022 11:12 AM
    To: Michael Roy Williams <mwilliam at ucalgary.ca>; Brian Randell <brian.randell at newcastle.ac.uk>; Doron Swade <doron.swade at blueyonder.co.uk>
    Cc: Ceruzzi, Paul <CeruzziP at si.edu>; don knuth <knuth-bug at cs.stanford.edu>
    Subject: Here it is!  

    External Email - Exercise Caution
    Los Alamos Conference… 1976.

    Brian, as I’m sure you recall, you and Doc Coombs were the smash hit of the entire thing.

    My mini-blog: https://computerhistory.org/blog/computings-woodstock/ 

    The playlist of lectures: https://computerhistory.org/playlists/international-research-conference-on-the-history-of-computing/ 

    (I hope it isn’t too irreverent to call it Woodstock… I tried to say something modern… the joke’s on me I suppose since Woodstock happened *before* the conference and is hardly considered modern anymore, albeit it did foreshadow some features of modernity).

    Please let me know your thoughts… if you so wish.

    Dag
    -----
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    Computer History Museum
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