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From: steve jenkin <>
Subject: [COFF] Re: Music!
Date: Sat, 11 Feb 2023 13:53:06 +1100	[thread overview]
Message-ID: <> (raw)
In-Reply-To: <>

In 1996, a Unix conference in Melbourne had a visit to the reconstructed first (valve) computer in Australia, CSIRAC.
	[ last extracts all about

There was a reconstructed audio of ’tunes’ played in 1951 at a conference.

I recall at the time being told that an AM radio had, at one time, been used to play tunes from the beast.
They controlled square waves produced by ALU for different amplitudes on a single frequency to approximate AM. 

Can’t find a reference to that now :(
	Dave Horsfall, IIRC, was at that event & knows radio.
	Might correct my recollection.

There was a loudspeaker connected to the machine, which seems to be all that’s written about.

CSIRAC is the only pre-1950 computer in the world to be preserved.
All others were broken up for scrap - their useful life over.
IIRC, the console of the Manchester Mk 1 was found near a railway line, used as part of a retaining wall.

It was preserved accidentally, not for any good reason but the lack of industry / imagination of Australia bureaucrats
	and cheap wharehouse storage :)

When I worked on early IBM 370’s, older operators talked about tuning in (AM) radios to systems
to monitor operation - no refs, sorry.
Exactly what’s mentioned in this note and another with the line spooler.

> On 11 Feb 2023, at 06:05, Bakul Shah <> wrote:
> Somewhat related: there was enough RF leakage when the Fortune motherboard was not in the case. I could "tune into it" near a Jazz FM station.
> That was quite useful because the noise pattern changed depending on what the system was doing. 


Long article by working expert, well illustrated.


	Since I deal with the history of computer music as I could not dedicate an article to this subject also? 
	For many readers far from new but definitely important to form a complete picture of what happened at the turn of the fifties.

	In the last months of 2014, I worked to put together the facts of some pioneering experiences of computer music 
	that took place in the United States, more or less in the same years of CSIRAC. 

	From this point of view, the Australian experiment completes the path that I presented in October 2014 
		at the Conservatorio di Santa Cecilia in Rome on the occasion of the 20th Colloquium on Music Informatics.


CSIRAC links

	The Computer CSIRAC, Film, 1965. CSIRO Film Unit
		[ on occasion of decommissioning ]
	15 min


The music of CSIRAC

	This is a very brief extract from the book Australia’s First Computer Music, 
		available in Australia through Common Ground Publishing 
		and internationally through Amazon.
	Used with kind permission.

	Paul Doornbusch 


The loudspeaker: 	The music of CSIRAC

	Although the musical developments with the CSIR Mk1 were accomplished in isolation and with no precedence, 
		it was not unique at that time. 
	The music played by the Ferranti Mark I was recorded by the BBC in September 1951.

Reconstruction of the music played by CSIRAC

		Audio reconstruction of CSIRAC playing Colonel Bogey (MOV 76.5 KB) (c.1951)

Acknowledgements, The music of CSIRAC

	Sources & Links


The music played by CSIRAC

	The first programmers of the CSIR Mk1 were Geoff Hill and Trevor Pearcey. Geoff Hill had perfect pitch and came from a very musical family.
	Hill was the first person to program the CSIR Mk1 to play a musical melody.
	It was played publicly for the first public exhibition of the computer on the 7th to 9th of August in 1951,
		 at the inaugural Conference of Automatic Computing Machines in Sydney.

	Audio – The technical feature more interesting, given the subject of this site, was the presence of a speaker. 
	The fact that the CSIR MK1 was equipped with a device of this kind was not a big news, 
	since also others computer in circulation in those years had a pretty common thing.


The Last of the First, CSIRAC: Australia’s First Computer
	(PDF 4.9 MB)

	many images, many interviews.


Geoffrey W Hill

	The CSIR Mk1 ran its first test programs in late 1949, 
	and it was the fifth electronic stored program computer ever developed.
	It embodied many features novel at the time and was able to operate more than 1000 times faster than the best mechanical calculators. 
	The machine was officially opened in 1951 and used to solve problems both for the Radiophysics Laboratory and outside organisations.
	It was decommissioned in 1955 and shipped to Melbourne.

	Geoff Hill was the main programmer at that time and he used the machine to play musical melodies. 
	These melodies, mostly from popular songs, were;
		‘Colonel Bogey’, ‘Bonnie Banks’, ‘Girl with Flaxen Hair’ and so on.

	The CSIR Mk1 was dismantled in mid 1955 and moved to The University of Melbourne. 
	On 14 June 1956 the Mk1 was recommissioned and renamed CSIRAC 
		and the new Computation Laboratory at the University of Melbourne was officially opened. 
	CSIRAC was available as a general computing workhorse and in the period from June 1956 to June 1964 processed over 700 computing projects.

	In November 1964, Dr. Frank Hirst switched CSIRAC off for the last time and it was donated to the Museum of Victoria.


CSIRAC Collection

	5 images


CSIRAC, The First Computer in Australia, 1949-1964

	CSIRAC, designed and built by CSIR scientists, was the first stored-memory electronic computer in Australia.

	In 1996, CSIRAC was loaned to the Department of Computer Science at the University of Melbourne 
	where it was reassembled and used as the centrepiece for a conference 
	celebrating the 40th anniversary of its recommissioning in Melbourne in June 1956, 
	which brought together computing pioneers who had worked with CSIRAC. 

	The machine was again temporarily displayed by the Museum at its Moreland store in November 1999, at a celebration to mark its 50th anniversary. 

	Following several years of dedicated work by Museum staff and volunteers from the CSIRAC history team at the University of Melbourne, 
	CSIRAC was placed back on public display, 
	forming the centrepiece of the exhibition in the Science & Life Gallery 
	when the new Melbourne Museum opened at Carlton Gardens in October 2000. 

	The display presented the computer as it appeared when set up at the University of Melbourne Computation Laboratory in 1956.

	In November 2010, CSIRAC was transferred to a smaller display on the west side of the Lower Ground Floor Entrance Lobby at Melbourne Museum

	In November 2017, CSIRAC was transferred to Scienceworks in Spotswood, 
		where it was initially held in temporary storage,
	 before being placed on public display once again in June 2018.

Steve Jenkin, IT Systems and Design 
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 38, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

  parent reply	other threads:[~2023-02-11  2:53 UTC|newest]

Thread overview: 12+ messages / expand[flat|nested]  mbox.gz  Atom feed  top
2023-02-10  0:37 [COFF] Music! Mike Markowski
2023-02-10  1:19 ` [COFF] Music! segaloco via COFF
2023-02-10  1:43 ` Dave Horsfall
2023-02-10  6:35 ` Lars Brinkhoff
2023-02-10 15:23   ` Paul Winalski
2023-02-10 19:13     ` Lars Brinkhoff
2023-02-10 19:05 ` Bakul Shah
2023-02-10 21:09   ` Paul Winalski
2023-02-11  2:53   ` steve jenkin [this message]
2023-02-11  4:20     ` Dave Horsfall
2023-02-11 19:24       ` Harald Arnesen
2023-02-11 16:40     ` Mike Markowski

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