Tom Kilburn, the Baby and EEE
Meet the Department 21st June 2019
Electrical engineering study at Manchester has produced a number of firsts, including the introduction of new subjects – such as power systems, high voltage engineering and electronic engineering – into the curriculum.
This week, however, marks the anniversary of a particularly important first: the creation of the world’s first stored-program computer.
Named the Small-Scale Experimental Machine, but perhaps better known by its nickname the ‘Baby’, it successfully ran its first proper computer program by determining the highest factor of a number on June 21 1948, some 71 years ago.
The Baby was built by FC Williams, head of the Electrical Engineering Department, along with Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill.
To mark the occasion, the Faculty of Science and Engineering blog The Hub takes a look at the life of one of these men: Tom Kilburn. During his time at the University, Kilburn would become a professor of computer engineering in the Department of Electrical Engineering before going on to play a key role in the School of Computer Science.
You can read more about his astonishing achievements, as well as those of his colleagues FC Williams, Geoff Tootill and Alan Turing, on The Hub.