Thk computer bulletin glasgow branch forms



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GLASGOW BRANCH FORMS


ADDRESS BY

.Dr. D. C.Gilles


A full programe was provided by the organisers of the (Glasgow Branch of the Soc­iety for their inaugural meeting on the llth November, with Dr. D. C. Gllles, B.Sc., Ph.D., Director of the Computing Laboratory, Glasgow University, in the Chair.

Mr. T.B.Simpson, C.A., introduced a film to the audience as a "Communications Primer"! this was an American film privately made in 1954: it describes the science and philosophy of communications and, among other matters, channels of communication in an EDP system.

In his address, Dr. Gilles then welcomed the formation of a Branch of the Society in Glasgow as a happy augury “for the cooper­ation between the University and local industry, which has been so beneficial to both in other fields, and which, I trust, will prove to be so in this field.

"It has always been so striking to me that in these electronic digital computers, we see, practically for the first time in the field of calculation, something developed within, the precincts of Universities being applied to business and industrial use. Up to now, we of the scientific world have us­ually gone to the manufacturers to see what they could offer in the form of calculating equipment, be it desk machines of the conven­tional hand or electric kind, accounting machines — especially the National which was discovered for scientific use in the 1950's -- and punched card equipment. This I have no doubt has been good for both of us.

"To energetic salesman it has often meant the introduction of a world of figures which they "but dimly realised, and to scien­tists — to me at least -- it has meant that some of the activities that go on upstairs in the Finance Department or behind the counter in my bank are not so obscure after all. True, we found the Manufacturers of the


equipment increasingly alive to the needs of
scientists! "but there bread and butter Job,
their daily task, was to sell such machines
in their hundreds to the office whilst they
were sold in ones and twos to scientists.

"Any developments they made were design­ed primarily for office use, and not for ours, but frequently we found an application for it. To take a trivial example, the introduction in the National Class 31 Accounting Machine of a look such that the machine would stop if an overdraft or debit balance occurred was immediately realised to be valuable in table-making applications of the machine, as it made the operation of sub tabulation practically automatic.,

"However, the development of automatic digital computers seems to be in the opposite direction. Proposed first by Babbage over 100 years ago, the ideas lay dormant and for­gotten, until 1937, when Professor Aiken of Harvard University conceived that IBM equip­ment could be used to make an automatic mach­ine.

"The stimulus had coma from the Univers­ities, and in the next few years much development was done there. It was later, when their potentialities ere realised, that applications to the business world were con­ceived, and even now much more use is made of these machines scientifically. They are a vital tool for his uses be it inside the Uni­versity or elsewhere,



"At this point I should like to say a few words about the University Computing Lab­oratory, because I believe that it is here that it win play its part. Established by the Joint financial contribution of local in­dustry and the University, it is principally a computing laboratory, that is, our primary interests are in the use of digital computers wad not their construction and development. We exist to make the computer available to


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