Talk:List of vacuum tube computers

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Add category[edit]

I worked thru this list and added "Category:Vacuum tube computers" to all entries except in a few cases where the computer line also included transistorized systems and those which already had "Category:IBM vacuum tube computers". I also added "see also" pointing to this list. Peter Flass (talk) 13:29, 12 January 2013 (UTC)

AVIDAC (Argonne National Laboratory) was used by E. Fermi in 1951 for calculating orbits in the accelerator that he was designing. (Jalexbnbl (talk) 23:08, 9 December 2013 (UTC))
ORACLE (Oak Ridge National Laboratory) was in operation in September 1953 (personal observation). Jalexbnbl (talk) 23:15, 9 December 2013 (UTC)

Some Errors[edit]

The Colossus was not programmable, and the Pilot ACE was not designed by Turing. Jfgrcar (talk) 21:44, 6 April 2013 (UTC)

Re: Colossus and programmability

Wikipedia page states that Colossus was "the world's first electronic digital computer that was at all programmable". and mentions:

"It compared two data streams, counting a statistic based on a programmable Boolean function."


"Both models were programmable using switches and plug panels in a way the Robinsons had not been."

Colossus machines were indeed programmable - but only hardware programmable in very limited ways.

They were dedicated code-breaking machines built for a specific job and were in no way either general purpose or software programmable computers in the way of post-war machines such as the Manchester Mark 1, Cambridge EDSAC, and others. (talk) 22:37, 27 June 2013 (UTC)

UNIVAC 1103A[edit]

Claim to be the first computer with interrupts in 1956 is contradicted by

Donald Willis (Research Assistant 1948-50 & 1952-55)

"Stan Gill wrote the subroutines which interrupted the processor when data arrived from the [tape] reading head"

UNIVAC 1103 page specifies HARDWARE interrupts, therefore amended "Notes" in line with this. (talk) 22:31, 27 June 2013 (UTC)


Given that it is unclear whether BINAC ever did any useful work for its end users, does it really deserve an entry in this page? --TedColes (talk) 21:28, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

I think it should be there. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 23:47, 26 October 2013 (UTC)
The user got it to work once in a while. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:41, 22 December 2017 (UTC)

Should we include the 1948 IBM 604 electronic calculator[edit]

It could multiply and divide and the processing for each punched card was defined using a 20-60 step plugboard ? It used about 1200 valves and its in Category:IBM vacuum tube computers - Rod57 (talk) 07:27, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

It is hard to say - I'm pretty sure that it was very limited in the programming - couldn't run a general program. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:53, 10 January 2016 (UTC)
Not sure what you mean by a 'general program' - Just noticed the 1952 Remington Rand 409 is in the list - also plugboard programmable - so can we define the list to say which of them belong ? - Rod57 (talk) 00:54, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
Interestingly: Univac says the 1004 could have its plugboard wired to load programs from cards. That may apply to other plugboard programmable machines. - Rod57 (talk) 00:54, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
It seems to me to be an automated calculator. It could read cards in, take those numbers and do some basic arithmetic operations and print the results out on a card, then go on to the next card. It looks like it could not store that result internally and did not have looping or branching. However, if you want to include it, I won't object. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:39, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
And, yes, since the Remington Rand 409 is there, the 604 can be too - it seems very similar. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:40, 15 January 2016 (UTC)
OTOH, the RR 409 could store a few hundred digits whereas it looks like the 604 could not. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:44, 15 January 2016 (UTC)

Should we add month to date[edit]

Many in same year so month can be significant - but is it month they first ran or month they were announced ? - Rod57 (talk) 12:02, 9 January 2016 (UTC)

I think the month is important. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 02:53, 10 January 2016 (UTC)


May be add USSR computers (ru:МЭСМ, BESM etc.)? — Preceding unsigned comment added by Gja822 (talkcontribs) 04:41, 23 April 2017 (UTC)


According to the articles (Swedish and English Wikipedia) on BESK it was finished in 1953 (and taken out of operation in 1966) (talk) 11:12, 19 December 2017 (UTC)


The article says "Oldest surviving first-generation electronic computer — unrestored and non-functional." ENIAC exists, but not all together. The Smithsonian has part of it (it was enough to operate), the Moore School has part of it, Aberdeen has a function table, and it is said that part of it is at (I think) the University of Michigan. Bubba73 You talkin' to me? 01:34, 22 December 2017 (UTC)