Manchester has been at the heart of the development of computing over the last 70 years. Alan Turing taught at Manchester University, and Turing’s work inspired the creation of the world’s first stored program computer, the Small Scale Experimental Machine also known as the Baby, which was designed and built in Manchester.
This was the beginning of an ongoing collaboration between the university and industry which led to the world’s first commercially available general purpose computer being developed and built in the city, the Ferranti Mk1, and other Ferranti models followed, including the UK’s first supercomputer and for a time the most powerful computer in the world, the Ferranti Atlas. That legacy continued in the city through ICL’s work on their influential and commercially successful 2900 mainframe series into the 1970’s.
Manchester University today continues to be at the cutting edge of computing research. Many of you will be familiar with the work of Professor Steve Furber, one of the designers of both the BBC Micro, which introduced a generation in the UK to computer programming, and the ARM microprocessor, which powers our mobile world. Professor Furber’s Advanced Processor Technologies group at Manchester are now engaged amongst other things in one of the Great Challenges of the modern era – building a novel processor architecture to simulate the human brain.
We’re very proud of that continuum, and we think that strong relationships between academia and commercial organisations are key to continuing to develop innovation in computing in the UK into the 21st century. As part of that we’re extremely proud that one of our Cloud Systems Engineers, Simon Murray, has been accepted onto the Tenth International Summer School on Advanced Computer Architecture and Compilation for High-Performance and Embedded Systems, which takes place in Fiuggi, Italy in July this year.
This is a week long event for computer architects and tool builders working in the field of high performance computer architecture, compilation and embedded systems. The school aims at the dissemination of advanced scientific knowledge and the promotion of international contacts among scientists from academia and industry. Courses cover a broad scope of computing from highly scalable distributed systems right down to compilers and processor design, and are taught by some of the worlds foremost computer scientists, from prestigious universities across the world and research organisations inside tech companies like Google and IBM.
Simon will find some time to blog about his experiences in Italy, and we look forward to assimilating some of that thinking into our development teams on his return.