Richard Grimsdale

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Richard Lawrence Grimsdale (18 September 1929 – 6 December 2005) was a British electrical engineer and computer pioneer who helped to design the world's first transistorised computer.

Early life[edit]

Richard Grimsdale was born in Australia, where his father, an English engineer, was working on a project for the Metropolitan-Vickers company. The family returned to England, where Richard studied electrical engineering at Manchester University, graduating in 1950.


In 1953, whilst still a post-graduate research student at Manchester University, Grimsdale achieved one of the first major landmarks in his career with his design and development work on the Metrovick 950, the world's first computer made from transistors rather than valves or electromechanical devices. The computer used early point-contact transistors which were the first generation of transistors, however later developments of the machine used more advanced junction transistors which offered better performance.

Grimsdale also worked on the Ferranti Mark I computer, a commercial development of the Manchester Mark 1 computer. He also designed the 100-nanosecond read-only memory for the Atlas computer.[1]

Grimsdale remained at Manchester University until 1960, then began to work at Associated Electrical Industries as a research engineer.

In 1967 Grimsdale left AEI and joined the Sussex University's electrical engineering faculty as a lecturer. His research at Sussex University included work on computer graphics, computer networking systems and VLSI accelerator chips for generating three-dimensional images.


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