Moving Targets: Elliott-Automation and the Dawn of the Computer Age in Britain, 1947 – 67

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Springer Science & Business Media, May 19, 2011 - Computers - 710 pages
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Moving Targets charts the gradual take-up of Information Technology in Britain, as seen through the eyes of one innovative company – Elliott-Automation – and remembered by those who worked for that company. The story touches on the strategic, technical and economic history of the 1950s and 1960s, through such themes as: secret computers built for the Admiralty and for GCHQ at Elliott’s Borehamwood Laboratories; the changing balance between analogue and digital techniques; the challenges of commercial data processing and the marketing arrangement between Elliott and NCR; the introduction of low-cost, reliable computers and their application to industrial control and to avionics; the growing importance of software and the Elliott Algol compiler; and the market rivalry between the Elliotts and other British computer manufacturers such as English Electric and Ferranti Ltd.

Simon Lavington, M.Sc., Ph.D., FIEE, FBCS, is emeritus professor of Computer Science at the University of Essex and the author of many publications. He retired in 2002 and is a committee member of the BCS Computer Conservation Society.

 

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Contents

The Navy Comes to Borehamwood
1
A Glint on the Horizon
33
The Secret Digit
79
Analogue Expertise
113
NRDC and the Market
147
Process Control and Automation The Bagrit Vision
193
Automation The Machines and the Applications
223
Software and Applications at Borehamwood
259
Appendix 2 Technical Details of the Elliott Nicholas Computer
515
Appendix 3 Technical Details of the Elliott 400 Series Computers
531
Appendix 4 Technical Details of the Elliott 800 Series and 503 Computers
555
Appendix 5 Technical Details of the Elliott 502 Computer
569
Appendix 6 Technical Details of Elliott 900 Series Computers
579
Appendix 7 Technical Details of the Elliott 4100 Series Computers
597
Appendix 8 Elliott Digital Computer Deliveries and Costs
611
Appendix 9 Supplementary Avionics Details
637

NCR the 405 and Commercial Data Processing
309
Evolution of Elliott Computer Architectures
337
EARS and Aerials Elliotts Radar Achievements 19501986 By John Kinnear and Elizabeth Laverick
371
Airborne Computing System Developments at ElliottAutomation 19581988 A personal account By Peter Hearne 2006
397
Mergers Takeovers and Dispersals
435
The End of the Line
469
Appendix 1 Technical Details of the Elliott 152 and 153
505
Appendix 10 Historical Notes on Early British and NonBritish Computers
655
Appendix 11 ElliottAutomation Group Structure and Factories in 1965
671
Bibliography
679
Index
689
Picture Credits
708
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