CSIRAC Chronology

1945

Trevor Pearcey sees Howard Aiken’s Mk1 (or Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator) at Harvard, and decides that paper tape-based systems are too slow, and that a fully electronic design would be superior.

1946

Trevor Pearcey begins to formulate the logical planning for an “Automatic Computer” .

1946

Chief of Radiophysics Edward Bowen and Assistant Chief Joseph Pawsey decided on radioastronomy and rain-physics as the two main areas of research, with a third, radio propagation dropped in favour of the development of electronic computing.

1948

Construction of the Mk1 computer begins with Maston Beard in charge of engineering and Trevor Pearcey covering the logical design.

1949

First test program is run in late November — a long multiplication routine.

1951

Brian Cooper constructs a drum-based secondary storage unit, and begins to construct a larger drum-based device with greater capacity.

1951

The Mk1 is publicly demonstrated.

1951

Music first played on the Mk1.

1953

Reginald Ryan doubles the Mk1’s mercury delay line storage capacity to 1024 words.

1955

Maston Beard designs a disk-type secondary storage unit, abandoning Brian Cooper’s second drum-type design.

1954

Maston Beard with the assistance of Geoff Chandler completely redesigns the main memory circuits which were designated MKII.

1955

The Mk1 is dismantled for shipment to Melbourne.

1956

June 14. The Computation Laboratory is opened at the University of Melbourne and the machine is renamed “CSIRAC” .

1964

CSIRAC is decommissioned and donated to the Museum of Victoria. It is replaced by an IBM 7044.

1980’s

CSIRAC is removed from storage and placed on display at Caulfield (later Chisolm) Institute of Technology (now Caulfield campus, Monash University).

1992

CSIRAC is returned to storage in the Museum of Victoria.

1996

In June the machine is placed on display at the University of Melbourne, as part of the 40th Anniversary Celebration of CSIRAC arriving in Melbourne.

1996

In December, CSIRAC is placed back into storage at the Scienceworks Museum, Spotswood.

2001

CSIRAC is on permanent display at Museum Victoria, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne.

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