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The Computing and Automation Division 1961-1984

Two IBM 360/195 Consoles, March 1980

The Rutherford High Energy Physics Laboratory initially did not have a dedicated Computing Division. Soon after the Laboratory came into existence, Bill Walkinshaw headed the Applied Physics Division. Its responsibilities included the operation of the Bubble Chambers, track analysis measuring machines, computer facilities, as well as many others. The first computer run by the Division was the Ferranti Orion.

The Laboratory replaced the Orion by an IBM 360/75 and later an IBM 360/195. In 1969, the Computing and Automation Division (abbreviated to C&A) emerged as a separate Division run by Bill Walkinshaw with Leo Hobbis heading Applied Physics and Geoff Manning the High Energy Physics Division.

On the merger with the Atlas Computer Laboratory, C&A took over the running of the Atlas Computer Laboratory's ICL 1906A and the related ancillary equipment including the FR80 Microfilm Recorder while the Atlas Computing Division was assigned responsibility for the detailed implementation of the outline proposals on the SRC's Interactive Computing Facility and for continuing work on applications programming in such specialised fields as Quantum Chemistry, Crystallography, and Databases.

Bill Walkinshaw ran C&A until 1979 when he retired. At that time, C&A and the Atlas Computing Division were merged to become the new Computing Division run by Bob Hopgood. This had responsibility for all the central computing facilities until 1984. The size of the Division was about 190 people by 1982. By 1984, due to the size of the Division (see an organogram) and changes in funding arrangements in SERC it was decided to split the Division into two.

Bob Hopgood took over a new Department called Informatics which was mainly responsible for the research activities and SERC computing initiatives. A second department, Central Computing, run by Brian Davies, was responsible for the mainframe and networking activities at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

This part of the website is concerned with the central computing facilities at the Rutherford Laboratory from the early days until 1984.

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