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 1606

"Where would Frankenstein and his creative mind fit into today's workplace? Should we fear technological developments or embrace them?"

E&T jobs

  • Graduate Electrical Engineers

    AECOM
    • United Kingdom and Ireland
    • Competitive

    Due to the diverse nature of our business there are many different teams each with very different responsibilities.

    • Recruiter: AECOM

    Apply for this job

  • Network Innovation Engineer / Analyst - UK Power Sector

    Premium job

    Nortech Management Ltd
    • Birmingham, West Midlands or Pershore (Worcestershire)
    • £30,000 - £35,000 (depending on experience) + benefits

    Network Innovation Engineer / Analyst to join a team of talented technology enthusiasts who design and support the low carbon networks of the future.

    • Recruiter: Nortech Management Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer with Strong telecoms background

    Premium job

    Sure South Atlantic Ltd
    • Falkland Islands

    Sure South Atlantic Ltd currently has a unique engineering opportunity in their Falkland Islands office. Surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, teeming ...

    • Recruiter: Sure South Atlantic Ltd

    Apply for this job

  • Cyber, Communication, Information and Data Scientist roles

    Premium job

    Dstl
    • Porton Down, Salisbury
    • Competitive salaries

    Information is everything. Use it to serve your country and help keep us safe.

    • Recruiter: Dstl

    Apply for this job

  • Production Engineer

    Premium job

    Compact Engineering
    • Thirsk / Leeds / Banbury / Colchester / Cambridge
    • Salary will be competitive and commensurate with experience, knowledge, aptitude and capability

    A Production Engineer with some knowledge and understanding of radiant energy transfer.

    • Recruiter: Compact Engineering

    Apply for this job

  • Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Nikon Metrology Europe
    • Tring, Hertfordshire

    Nikon Metrology is looking for an Electronics Engineer to join our Electronics Team based in Tring (UK).

    • Recruiter: Nikon Metrology Europe

    Apply for this job

  • Engineering Manager

    BAE Systems
    • Hampshire, England, Portsmouth
    • Competitive package

    Would you like to play a vital role in managing and implementing the correct governance in order to enable BAE Systems to provide assurance and integrity of supply chain data? We currently have a vacancy for an Engineering Manager - Product Integrity

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • Engineering Project Manager - Electrical & Automation

    Nestle
    • York, North Yorkshire
    • c£45,000 + Car Allowance + Bonus + Excellent Benefits

    Nestlé Product Technology Centre in York currently has an excellent opportunity for an Engineering Project Manager

    • Recruiter: Nestle

    Apply for this job

  • Consultant Engineer - Test

    BAE Systems
    • Farnborough, Hampshire, England
    • Negotiable

    Consultant Engineer - Test Would you like to be a lead within an exciting team working on one of the UK's largest defence projects? We currently have a vacancy for a Consultant Engineer - Test at our site in Ash Vale. As a Consultant Engineer - Test, you

    • Recruiter: BAE Systems

    Apply for this job

  • ELECTRICAL PROJECT ENGINEER

    SSE
    • Reading, Berkshire
    • SALARY: £37,588 TO £55,669 + CAR (SSE8/9), DEPENDING ON SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

    SSE are looking to recruit an Electrical Project Engineer into office in Reading

    • Recruiter: SSE

    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