Trevor Pearcey & the First Australian Computer: A Lost Opportunity?

CSIR Radiophysics research staff, 1952

Image: CSIR Radiophysics research staff, 1952

Source: Museum Victoria

This is a summary of an article entitled 'Trevor Pearcey & the First Australian Computer: A Lost Opportunity?'

The paper tells something of Trevor Pearcey's early contribution to Australian computing.

Shortly after the Second World War Trevor Pearcey joined the Radiophysics Division of the Australian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), the predecessor of today's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). He designed the first Australian electronic computer, which was constructed in the Division. By 1951 this machine was functioning, but three years later a decision was made to discontinue work on computer development in CSIRO. Pearcey however went on to play a vital role in Australian computing, both in CSIRO and in academia.

The paper also takes a fresh look at some of the factors involved in the 1954 decision to terminate computer development in CSIRO.

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