The CSIRAC was Australia’s first digital computer and the fifth stored-program machine in the world. It’s first test was run in November, 1949 and it was built by a team of engineers and scientists led by Trevor Pearcey and Maston Beard.

Input was done on punched paper tape instead of cards, was run through a single console, and had CRT displays. Since it had no OS of any kind, a programming language called INTERPROGRAM was created for it much later by Geoff Hill. In 1955 the machine was moved to the University of Melbourne, where it served as the country’s only academic computing center until 1964.

In 1964 the system was shut down and sat in storage through the 60s and 70s until being exhibited from 1980-1992. A conference on the machine in 1996 proved further interest in it’s historical impact, and it was put on display in the Melbourne Museum in 2000. It has not been operable since shutting down, but programs were kept and an emulator was written. It still exists today in the same location, where millions of visitors see it every year.

Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed