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Software developments at the Atlas Computer laboratory covered a wide spectrum. There were many deficiencies in the set of compilers available early on and these had to be rectified. Many user groups in need of computer power came to the Laboratory en masse setting up suites of applications programs. Finally, there was particular interest in graphics and animation because of the quality of the Atlas peripherals in those areas.
- Algol: the system developed at ACL to handle all the various UK dialects of Algol
- Animation: some examples of the early computer animation developed at ACL.
- Astrophysics: several Atlas Fellows were involved with simulations in this area.
- Biology: not a major user but some simulation work was carried out.
- Chemistry: Quantum Chemistry in particular was a major activity throughout the life of the Laboratory
- Crystallography: a major Atlas user base was established in the area of crystallography.
- Engineering: engineering computation often based on the finite element method was a major actvivity.
- Graphics: the SC4020, FR80 and PFDP15 were all developed to halp uses with graphical output from their applications.
- Hartran: the Atlas Fortran System
- Mathematics: number theory, in particular, was a computationally intensive activity that was the expertise of several of the Atlas Fellows including Oliver Atkin and Jack Good
- Microdensitometer: part of the crystallographics support
- Non-numeric: concordances were an early non-numeric use of Atlas. This was soon followed by a range of AI and other applications. LISP presented special challenges for a paged machine
- Physics: many branches of Theoretical Physics made extensive use of Atlas.
- Retrieval: Information Retrieval was an interest of Bob Churchhouse and there was an ACL development to access information in the Atlas Library.
- Satellite Data Processing: many of the UK satellite experiments had data processed by the Laboratory's staff.
- Applied Mathematics: statistics, in particular, was a major area of support due to the ability to punch and process survey data.
- Weather: the Met Office used Atlas for most of its life developing models for weather forecasting.