Wednesday 9 September 2009

Witch from the 1950s makes a comeback

Electronics wizards generally believe in science rather than magic, but those working at the Britain's Atomic Energy Research Establishment in the 1950s certainly put their faith in a witch.

The witch in question was actually a computer and its name was an acronym of Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell. It also has the honour of being Britain's oldest original computer.

The Witch machine was was noted for its reliability and apparently once worked for 10 days non-stop without crashing, which I think is better than my modern PC manages.

The computer was donated to the Museum of Science and Industry, Birmingham in 1973 and was on display for several years, but then was taken apart and put into storage. This year, however, the Witch is making a comeback.

This month, the The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park has announced it is raising money to restore the old Witch and put her back on display.

I wonder if one of her programs is a spell-checker?


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