1966 Computing Power (Elliott 903) - Computerphile | Summary and Q&A

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July 15, 2015
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Computerphile
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1966 Computing Power (Elliott 903) - Computerphile

TL;DR

This video showcases the functionality and historical significance of the Elliott 903, a 1966 machine at the museum, through demonstrations of playing noughts and crosses and solving math problems.

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Key Insights

  • 🥶 The Elliott 903 is highly valued because it is one of the oldest operational machines at the museum and offers a glimpse into computing in the 1960s.
  • 👊 The use of punch tape and the original punch tape printer adds to the authenticity of the machine.
  • 🦮 While the Elliott 903 can perform more serious computing tasks, it is primarily used for educational purposes and fun distractions during guided tours.
  • ✋ The engagement level of visitors, including children and even teenagers, is unexpectedly high when interacting with the machine.
  • 🐎 The machine's limitations, such as slower computing speed compared to modern computers, provide interesting comparisons between technological advancements over time.
  • 🤗 The museum staff encourages hands-on experiences for visitors, allowing them to participate in operating the machine and loading new programs.
  • 😵 The demonstration of playing noughts and crosses on the Elliott 903 showcases the historical significance and educational value of the machine.

Transcript

We're Gonna Have a look at the [Elliott] 903 It's a machine that we did have a very quick look at when we did our last video here when we had a look around generally at the Museum But what we're going to do is actually turn it on Have a closer look at it and see what it does [and] talk about how how useful it is to us here at the [Museum] because t... Read More

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is the Elliott 903 considered significant at the museum?

The Elliott 903 is one of the earliest operational machines at the museum and allows for a hands-on experience of computing from 1966.

Q: How does the punch tape printer work?

The punch tape printer is used to load new programs onto the Elliott 903. It is similar to copy-pasting a file onto a CD, and the noise it generates is normal during operation.

Q: What kind of programs can be run on the Elliott 903?

The video demonstrates playing noughts and crosses and solving math problems using the machine. It can perform more serious computations, but for educational purposes, fun distractions are preferred.

Q: Is it possible to beat the computer at noughts and crosses?

It is impossible to beat the computer at noughts and crosses on the Elliott 903, but many school kids and visitors still try to win against it during guided tours.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • The Elliott 903 is one of the earliest machines at the museum that is still operational and can be reprogrammed as it was in 1966.

  • It uses punch tape to load new programs, and the original punch tape printer creates a loud noise during operation.

  • The machine is used for both educational purposes, such as guided tours for school groups, and for fun distractions like playing games.

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