Wilkes, Maurice Vincent

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b. 26 June 1913 Stourbridge, Worcestershire, England
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English physicist who was jointly responsible for the construction of the EDS AC computer.
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Educated at King Edward VI Grammar School, Stourbridge, where he began to make radio sets and read Wireless World, Wilkes went to St John's College, Cambridge, in 1931, graduating as a Wrangler in the Mathematical Tripos in 1934. He then carried out research at the Cavendish Laboratory, becoming a demonstrator in 1937. During the Second World War he worked on radar, differential analysers and operational research at the Bawdsey Research Station and other air-defence establishments. In 1945 he returned to Cambridge as a lecturer and as Acting Director of the Mathematical (later Computer) Laboratory, serving as Director from 1946 to 1970.
During the late 1940s, following visits to the USA for computer courses and to see the ENIAC computer, with the collaboration of colleagues he constructed the Cambridge University digital computer EDSAC (for Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Computer), using ultrasonic delay lines for data storage. In the mid-1950s a second machine, EDSAC2, was constructed using a magnetic-core memory. In 1965 he became Professor of Computer Technology. After retirement he worked for the Digital Electronic Corporation (DEC) from 1981 to 1986, serving also as Adjunct Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1981 to 1985. In 1990 he became a research strategy consultant to the Olivetti Research Directorate.
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Principal Honours and Distinctions
FRS 1956. First President, British Computer Society 1957–60. Honorary DSc Munich 1978, Bath 1987. Honorary DTech Linkoping 1975. FEng 1976. Institution of Electrical Engineers Faraday Medal 1981.
Bibliography
1948, "The design of a practical high-speed computing machine", Proceedings of the Royal Society A195:274 (describes EDSAC).
1949, Oscillation of the Earth's Atmosphere.
1951, Preparation of Programs for an Electronic Digital Computer, New York: Addison-Wesley.
1956, Automatic Digital Computers, London: Methuen. 1966, A Short Introduction to Numerical Analysis.
1968, Time-Sharing Computer Systems : McDonald \& Jane's.
1979, The Cambridge CAP Computer and its Operating System : H.Holland.
1985, Memoirs of a Computer Pioneer, Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press (autobiography).
Further Reading
B.Randell (ed.), 1973, The Origins of Digital Computers, Berlin: Springer-Verlag.
KF

Biographical history of technology. - Taylor & Francis e-Librar. . 2005.

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  • Wilkes — /wilks/, n. 1. Charles, 1798 1877, U.S. rear admiral and explorer. 2. John, 1727 97, English political leader and journalist. * * * (as used in expressions) Booth John Wilkes Wilkes John Wilkes Maurice Vincent * * * …   Universalium

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