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The EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Computer) ran its first program May 6, 1949, and was constructed by Maurice Wilkes and his team at the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory, inspired by the EDVAC design report by John von Neumann.

This was not the first stored program computer (see the Small-Scale Experimental Machine), but rather the first practical stored program computer. As soon as it was constructed, it immediately began serving the University's research needs. None of its components were experimental. It used mercury delay lines for memory, and derated vacuum tubes for logic. In 1953, David Wheeler, returning from the University of Illinois, designed an index register as an extension to the original EDSAC hardware.

The project was supported by J. Lyons & Co. Ltd., a British firm, who were rewarded with the first commercially applied computer, LEO I, based on the EDSAC design.

In the 1960s the EDSAC computer was used to gather numerical evidence about solutions to elliptic curves which led to the Birch and Swinnerton-Dyer conjecture.

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Last updated: 11-07-2004 09:30:18