The Manchester Baby was the first electronic stored-program computer. It was built at the University of Manchester and ran its first program on 21 June 1948. The machine was not intended to be a practical computer, but was instead designed as a testbed for the Williams tube, the first truly random-access memory. The ENAC is the first computer to store both a program and the data that it is working on.
About Manchester Baby in brief
The Manchester Baby was the first electronic stored-program computer. It was built at the University of Manchester and ran its first program on 21 June 1948. The machine was not intended to be a practical computer, but was instead designed as a testbed for the Williams tube, the first truly random-access memory. The first design for a program-controlled computer was Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine in the 1830s. A century later, in 1936, mathematician Alan Turing published his description of what became known as a Turing machine, a theoretical concept intended to explore the limits of mechanical computation. At the same time, the EDVAC was under development at the National Mathematical Laboratory at the Ministry of Mathematical Supply in the UK. The ENIAC was a machine that was both electronic and general purpose, but its program was held in the state of switches in patchcords, not in memory, and it could take several days to reprogram. The Z3 was the world’s first working programmable, fully automatic computer, with binary digital arithmetic logic, but it lacked the conditional branching of a Turing machines. The Colossus of 1943 was thefirst electronic computing device, but It was not a general-purpose machine. In 1946, Alan Turing presented a paper outlining his design for an electronic stored program computer. This was one of several projects set up in the years following the Second World War with the aim of constructing a stored- program computer at the same place and time as the EDAC.
The EDAC was later known as the Automatic Computing Engine and is still in use today. It is the only electronic computer to be known to be stored on an external tape, as it was the only one that could store both the program as well as the data it was working on at the time of its creation. It has been the subject of a number of books, including The Automatic Engine by Alan Turing and The Automatic Computing Machine by John von Neumann, which is published by Oxford University Press and is available in hard copies for about £1,000. The Electronic Computing Engine is also available on the Internet for £2,000, with a price tag of £3,000 ($4,000) The ENAC is the first computer to store both a program and the data that it is working on, and to date it is the most powerful computer in the world. It can store both programs and data at once, and has a 32-bit word length and a memory of 32 words. It was designed to be the simplest possible stored-Program computer, and the only arithmetic operations implemented in hardware were subtraction and negation; other arithmetic operations were implemented in software. The program consisted of 17 instructions and ran for about 52 minutes before reaching the correct answer of 131,072, after the Baby had performed about 3.5 million operations. The Mark 1 in turn quickly became the prototype for the Ferranti Mark 1, the world’s first commercially available general- Purpose computer.