Andrew Donald Booth

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Andrew Donald Booth (11 February 1918 – 29 November 2009)[1][2] was a British electrical engineer, physicist and computer scientist who was an early developer of the magnetic drum memory for computers[3] and invented Booth's multiplication algorithm.[1]

Booth was raised in Weybridge, Surrey, and educated at the Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School. In 1937, he won a scholarship to read mathematics at Jesus College, Cambridge. Booth left Cambridge without taking a degree, having become disaffected with pure mathematics as a subject. He chose an external degree from the University of London instead, which he obtained with a first.[1]

From 1943 to 1945, Booth worked as a mathematical physicist in the X-ray team at the British Rubber Producers' Research Association (BRPRA), Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, gaining his PhD in crystallography from Birmingham University in 1944. In 1945, he moved to Birkbeck College, University of London, where his work in the crystallography group led him to build some of the first electronic computers in the United Kingdom[4][5] including the All Purpose Electronic Computer, first installed at the British Rayon Research Association.[6] Booth founded Birkbeck's department of numerical automation and was recently named a fellow at the university. He also did early pioneering work in machine translation.[7]

Booth married computer engineer Kathleen H. V. Britten; during 1947–1953 they produced three computing machines together.

Booth served as President of Lakehead University from 1972–1978.


  1. ^ a b c Andrew Booth: scientist who invented the magnetic storage device, The Times, 12 January 2010.
  2. ^ Johnson, Roger. Pioneer Profile: Andrew Booth. Resurrection, Issue 51, Summer 2010. London: Computer Conservation Society.
  3. ^ Mark Ward (2 April 2016). "From punch cards to smartphones". BBC News Online.
  4. ^ The work of Professor Andrew D. Booth, Department of Computer Science, Birkbeck College, London, UK.
  5. ^ Collin, Andrew. Andrew Booth's Computers at Birkbeck College. Resurrection, Issue 5, Spring 1993. London: Computer Conservation Society.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-05-06. Retrieved 2011-01-02. Computer Science at Birkbeck College
  7. ^ Booth, Andrew (2003). H. L. Somers, ed. Mechanical Translation. Readings in machine translation. MIT Press.

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