Ferranti art installation wins first Tony Sale Award

12 October 2012
James Hayes
Mobile version
Share |
View of Dr David Link's LoveLetters art installation showing rows of 1950s Ferranti computer cathode-ray tubes mounted on a gallery wall.

David Link's LoveLetters installation invokes the 1951 Ferranti Mark 1 computer which executes the original recovered software by Professor Christopher Strachey.

Artist and computing historian Dr David Link has won the inaugural Tony Sale Award for computer conservation for his installation LoveLetters, a replica of a 1951 computer with reconstructed software that generates texts to express and arouse emotions.

LoveLetters reconstructs the 1951 Ferranti Mark 1 computer which executes the original recovered software by renowned computer scientist Professor Christopher Strachey to generate automated ‘love letters’.

‘LoveLetters_1.0’ consists of two parts. In the installation, the visitor interacts with a functional replica of the Ferranti Mark 1, which conveys an impression of the different components and the functionality of the pioneering computer. By executing the original code of Strachey’s software, it continuously generates ‘love letters’. These are projected on a large screen at another location, in a public space, where everybody can read them.

The Ferranti Mark 1 was an industrial version of the Manchester Baby, a prototype of the first fully electronic universal computer controlled by software, built by engineers at Manchester University, headed by Frederic Williams and in cooperation with Alan Turing and Max Newman. In 1953-54 Christopher Strachey, using the programming system devised by Alan Turing, used the built-in random generator of the Ferranti Mark 1 to generate texts that intend to express and arouse emotions.

The Tony Sale Award, managed by the Computer Conservation Society and sponsored by Google, has been established to recognise achievements in the growing area of computer conservation. Electronic engineer, computer programmer, and hardware engineer Tony Sale, who died in August 2011, is perhaps best known for leading the team that rebuilt the Colossus computer: he helped establish the Computer Conservation Society, co-founded the National Museum of Computing and was a key figure in starting the campaign to save Bletchley Park in the early 1990s.

Other nominations for the Tony Sale Award 2012 were:

  • DEC PDP1 restoration led by Dag Spicer of the Computer History Museum in California, US: a computer restoration project of Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC)’s first computer.
  • Time-Line Computer Archive by Michael Armstrong & Sandra Hodson, in Wigton, West Cumbria, UK: aiming to collect, restore and exhibit all types of early computers and electronics.
  • Z3 reconstruction in Hunsfeld, Germany, by Professor Doctor Raül Rojas: a reconstruction and simulation of Konrad Zuse’s Z3 Computer, originally built in Berlin between 1938-1941, destroyed during the Second World War.

More information:

http://www.sale-award.org/
http://www.computerconservationsociety.org
http://alpha60.de/loveletters/2012_dOCUMENTA13/

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Sales Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Precision Microdrives
    • London (Greater)
    • £25,000 - £30,000 starting salary, inclusive of on-target commissions.

    Precision Microdrives (PMD) is a fast growing technology company that designs, produces and trades miniature electro-mechanical mechanisms

    • Recruiter: Precision Microdrives

    Apply for this job

  • Analogue Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)
    • Uppsala (Stad) (SE)

    The Swedish Institute of Space Institute (IRF) in Uppsala search for an analogue electronics engineer.

    • Recruiter: Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)

    Apply for this job

  • Principal Robotic Systems Engineer

    Premium job

    National Oceanographic Centre
    • Southampton, Hampshire
    • £45,271 to £49,207 per annum

    Responsible for technical oversight and project management of internally and externally funded innovation centre projects.

    • Recruiter: National Oceanographic Centre

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer - Water

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

    Mott MacDonald's highly successful Water and Environment Unit is recruiting an electrical engineer....

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Design Engineer

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

    Mott MacDonald's highly successful water business continues to win and deliver a fantastic amount of work....

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Electronics Engineer

    York Instruments
    • York, North Yorkshire

    Senior electronics engineer to work as part of a team developing an MEG imaging system; working with the engineering team and external contractors.

    • Recruiter: York Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Field Application Engineer

    Intel
    • Madrid

    Responsible for giving product presentations to the customer describing how Intel products provide the optimum solution to their application.

    • Recruiter: Intel

    Apply for this job

  • Control Engineer

    Bank of England
    • Debden
    • Competitive

    We’re looking for a qualified engineer with experience of computer programming for engineering systems and instrumentation.

    • Recruiter: Bank of England

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T