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Manual - CSIRAC Computer, Programming, University of Melbourne,1959 Document Reg. No: HT 4618

Programming Manual for the Automatic Electronic Computer, CSIRAC, August 1959.

The manual was produced to guide expert users of CSIRAC in programming the machine.

The manual was produced by the staff of the Computation Laboratory of the University of Melbourne and based on material by Trevor Pearcey and Maston Beard

The manual provides a detailed description of how to prgram CSIRAC. The Introduction includes some explanation of what is meant by programming:
"To 'programme the calculation' means to draw up a list of commands, each of which calls on an operation that the machine can perform and which together will do what is required. For this purpose the programmer will need to know which commands the machine can perform and how to organize these operations into a complete programme. It is sometime helpful, but not necessary, to understand the physical details of machine prganization ...
In many programmes, most of the commands are copied from previously tested programmes, which have been organized into a 'library' of routines."

The donor used this manual while studying at the University of Melbourne in 1962; she wrote some of the programs for CSIRAC. both in a third year physics course and in a third year maths course for which Trevor Pearcy was the lecturer. She also used Interprogram ( a more user friendly program) in the maths course, but thinks the physics course focused on the machine language. She began a career in computing as a programmer in 1963 and was still working as a programming consultant in 2002, when she donated the manual to the Museum.

There are several other identical CSIRAC manuals in the Museum collection. However, this particular item is important because it represents an early example of women in computing, who were in general quite uncommon in the 1950s and 1960s. Very few women worked specifically on CSIRAC so the existence of this manual is a reminder of the social context in which CSIRAC existed. The manual also reminds us of CSIRAC's importance in shaping the careers of Australia's early computer professionals, particularly programmers. The donor was one of the few women identified with CSIRAC who has remained working with computers.

The donor also gave a copy of an Interprogram manual to the Museum.
Orange foolscap sized booklet with Mary Hoffman's name inscribed in the front. Stamped 27 Sep 1961 on back page.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Ms Mary Hoffman, 2002
Discipline: Technology
Dimensions: 0.4 cm (Height), 32.7 cm (Width), 20.3 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: making history - csirac
Themes this item is part of: Reminiscences of a Woman Computer Pioneer, 1962 - 2002, CSIRAC - a woman programmer's view, Introduction to the CSIRAC Programming Manual, Jun 1958, CSIRAC Collection
Primary Classification: COMPUTING & CALCULATING
Secondary Classification: Digital Computing
Tertiary Classification: manuals
Inscriptions: Front:
UNIVERSITY OF MELBOURNE / COMPUTATION LABORATORY / PROGRAMMING MANUAL / for the Automatic Electronic Computer / CSIRAC / This production by the staff of the Computation Laboratory is based upon papers by T. Pearcey and G. W. Hill / August 1959.
User: University of Melbourne (The), Parkville, Victoria, Australia, 1959
User: Ms Mary Hoffman, Australian Capital Territory, Australia, 1959

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