tfb at tfeb.org
Thu Jun 21 09:53:52 AEST 2018
Making tube (valve) machines reliable was something originally sorted out by Tommy Flowers, who understood, and convinced people with some difficulty I think, that you could make a machine with one or two thousand valves (1,600 for Mk 1, 2,400 for Mk 2) reliable enough to use, and then produced ten or eleven Colossi from 1943 on which were used to great effect in. So by the time of Whirlwind it was presumably well-understood that this was possible.
(This is not meant to detract from what Whirlwind did in any way.)
> On 20 Jun 2018, at 21:11, Doug McIlroy <doug at cs.dartmouth.edu> wrote:
> If you extrapolate the rate of replacement of vacuum tubes in a 5-tube
> radio to a 5000-tube computer (say nothing of the 50,000-tube machines
> for which Whirlwind served as a prototype), computing looks like a
> crap shoot. In fact, thanks to the maintenance protocol, Whirlwind
> computed reliably--a sine qua non for the nascent industry.
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