Publisher Information: London: Post Office Research Station, 1946.
Coombs, Allen W. M. (1911-95); William W. Chandler; Thomas H. Flowers (1905-88); W. Gordon Radley. Research report no. 12719. Automatic computing: An analysis of arithmetical operations. Mimeograph typescript. 29pp., including diagrams. Dollis Hills, London: Post Office Research Station, August 1946. 281 x 219 mm. Original printed wrappers, chipped and frayed at spine, traces of label removal on right margin of front wrapper, ink inscriptions and stamp ca. 1946 on front wrapper. Very good. Bookplate of Erwin Tomash.
First Edition. In early 1946 Tommy Flowers, designer of the Colossus, the code-breaking computer built at Bletchley Park during World War II, was chosen to organize the construction of Turing’s ACE (Automatic Computing Engine) computer at the Post Office Research Station at Dollis Hills, with Coombs and Chandler as the other members of the team. Flowers initially believed that a basic version of the ACE could be ready by August or September 1946; however, the project was considerably delayed due to manpower shortages and Turing’s numerous revisions of the computer’s logical design.
This is the first edition of one of the extremely rare early reports on ACE that Turing began designing for the National Physical Laboratory in late 1945. All of the authors of this report had worked with Turing at Bletchley Park, where Flowers, Coombs and Chandler served as leaders of the secret wartime codebreaking project that in 1943 produced the Colossus Mark I, the world’s first electronic digital computer.
The Pilot Model ACE, a smaller version of Turing’s original design, went on line on 10 March 1950. Coombs and Chandler went on to build a second and more powerful ACE computer, the MOSAIC (Ministry of Supply Automatic Integrator and Calculator), which became operational in early 1955. All of the early Post Office Research Station computing reports are rare. This is the first one we have handled in more than 50 years of experience. Copeland, The Essential Turing, pp. 395-396.Book Id: 45227