Sunday, 22 April 2012

The LEO Computer Society Reunion

Reunion Meeting of the Leo Computer Society
The LEO I Computer went operational on 17th November 1951 and is recognised as the first business computer to be working anywhere in the world. I worked with LEO III computers in 1965-67 and so was entitled to attend the reunion meeting in London earlier today. About 90 people attended and it was the first reunion I had attended. While I didn't meet anyone who had been working as a fellow programmer or systems analyst with Shell Mex & B.P. at Hemel Hempstead there were plenty of opportunities to talk with people who had done similar jobs for other employers. Gloria Guy spoke about the Oral History Project - and I have agreed to be interviewed about my experiences. Frank Land spoke of working on the LEO I and some the interesting applications it was used for - many undoubtedly for the first time that kind of work had been done on a computer. Kevin Murrell of the Computer Conservation Society talked about the work to build a replica EDSAC computer - which was the pioneering university computer from which the LEO I was developed.
Mercury Delay Line Memory from Leo II Computer
However there were several people I had known when I worked at English Electric Leo Marconi in 1967-70, including George Stern who had been my first boss, and Frank Land who later become Professor of Information Management at L.S.E. I also had a delightful conversation with a charming lady I had not meet before and had a deep understanding of the problems about trying to get unconventional research ideas established. Helen Pinkerton was the widow of John Pinkerton - who had built the LEO I computer and who later had been instrumental in getting the CODIL project funded. Several people were interested in the way the CODIL project was closed because it was supported by Basil de Ferranti at a time when Basil was being eased out of ICL. All in all a very enjoyable chance to share stories of the past.

More Pictures on the Leo Computer Society Site

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