A message about code

December 10, 2015

This term alone, there were 1867 bookings for the Upper’s ipads, chromebooks, mac suite and ICT rooms. Students literally have technology at their fingertips any time they need to use it. But in 1962 if you wanted to use the technology, you had to build it first. Here are two extracts from The Pelican to remind us how novel the precursors to the tools that we now take for granted once were.

From The Pelican, December 1962

The decision to attempt to construct a transistorized digital computer was taken at the very end of last academic year and constructional work began in the Autumn Term of this year.

We were given great encouragement in the Lent Term when the Royal Society Research in Schools Committee agreed to assist the project. Very satisfying progress has been made during the year and credit for this must largely go to Cosslett who, in addition to the painstaking design and development work which he has personally carried out, has organised and supervised the work of the group.

Assembly of the arithmetic unit is now well advanced and we hope to finish this by the end of term. Sufficient has been completed at the time of writing to enable addition or subtraction of two five-figure numbers to be carried out at the proposed operating speed of the computer, i.e. in 1/5000 of a second.

From The Pelican, February 1981

Computer Club report: ‘At the end of last year, the School purchased a microcomputer (an APPLE II+). Since then it has been in constant use and programs have been written from the inevitable “space invaders” to more useful programs such as “assemblers”. This term a four man committee of sixth formers was formed to help look after the running of the computer.

They have also started a series of lectures on Wednesdays to teach pupils how to program the computer. The number of people on this term’s booking form is about fifty. We hope this dispels any fears of the computer catering only for a small elite!’

Many extracts from The Pelican are reproduced in our anniversary book The Perse School: the first 400 years. The book is available to purchase from our online shop. You will need to log in or register before you can make a purchase.

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