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Welcome to a Web Site about the Atlas Computer Laboratory at Chilton. The role of the Atlas Computer Laboratory was to provide a national computing facility for research in science and engineering. The main user population was the UK Universities and some government agencies.
Its first computer, from which the Laboratory was named, was the largest of the three Ferranti Atlas I computers that were built. At the time, it could claim to be the fastest and most innovative of the computers available worldwide (although the same claims could be made for the IBM 7030: Stretch).
The Atlas Computer Laboratory for many years was a major facility supporting computationally intensive science and engineering research in the UK. It also made important contributions to systems software including operating systems, compilers, computer graphics, and networking. Basic software in the areas of statistics, mathematics, linguistics, chemistry and many other areas was also developed.
Information on the site has been broken down into five main areas:
- Associates: covers people (staff, users and others who contributed to its success)
- Technology: covers computers, other equipment and the evolution of the Atlas building complex
- Literature: key material available electronically for the first time
- Applications: software developed at the Laboratory
- Society: as with any organisation, its evolution depends on the state of computing at the time and the political pressures both at a national and local level.
Our thanks to UKRI Science and Technology Facilities Council for hosting this site.