The APU’s first proper computer (1970).
Everyone knows that computer technology has advanced at an extraordinarily rapid rate over the last fifty years. Although several early electronic devices built at APU had computational capabilities, the Unit’s first “proper” laboratory computer was a Modular 1 installed in 1970. Needless to say, a moderately large room was required to accommodate hardware that had only a minute fraction of the computational and communicative power of a modern mobile phone. Its modular name came from the fact that it was composed of multiple cabinets each fulfilling a different function. The picture below shows the machine room with the cabinets numbered e.g. 1.33, 1.21, 1.11, a paper tape reader and teletype interface. It was quite remarkable what was achieved with just 24 kilobytes of random access memory. Our archives contain a document dated 1972. This document includes the specification and illustrates how different named members of the APU were using it to control a (more than useful) range of experimental tasks. The original typescript document will open in a separate window if you click here.