Oldest operational computer was Re: cctalk Digest, Vol 54,

Tony Duell ard at p850ug1.demon.co.uk
Thu Feb 14 12:30:44 CST 2008


> 
> On Wed, Feb 13, 2008 at 7:26 PM, Fred Cisin <cisin at xenosoft.com> wrote:
> 
> > On Wed, 13 Feb 2008, Charles H Dickman wrote:
> > > So what is the oldest computer still operational?
> >
> > Meaningless question, until you DEFINE:
> > "Oldest"
> 
> 
> The earliest created. It's birthday is the moment it first calculated
> something, or the day it went on sale.

Whuch are not the same thing, of course.

> 
> 
> > "computer"
> 
> 
> A machine that can (theoretically) automatically solve any arbitrary
> problem, with input, storage, and output. I think the term is pretty well

This is not my field at all, but I was under the impression that the 
likes of Turing proved that such a machine was impossible. Even if only 
consider those problems that can be solved on a Turing machine, then such 
a computer does not exist, since a Turing machine has unlimited storage.

> defined. Not a tabulator, or calculator, or punch-card time tracking
> machine, or programmable loom.

Remember that the origianal definition of 'computer' was a person who 
operated a calculating machine (and not the machine itself)....


> 
> 
> >
> > "operational"
> >
> 
> 
> Still performs to original specs. Lights light up, results are accurate,
> etc...

So if the power-on lamp has failed it's no longer an operational 
computer? Strange... I felt I'd got my HP9830 (by no maeans the oldest 
opeational computer, but an early personal computer none-the-less) 
operational when I got a prompt and when I could type in BASIC programs 
and it would execute them. Even though the power-on lamp has burnt out, 
and it took me serveral months to get round to ordering a replacement.

-tony



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