The world’s oldest working digital computer was rebooted on Tuesday following a painstaking three-year refurbishment. The slow-but-steady machine will now be used to educate school-age programmers.
The Harwell Dekatron – AKA The WITCH Computer – crunched its first calculations 61 years ago and was used to build Britain’s first nuclear reactors. It has been restored by The National Museum of Computing (TNMOC) at Bletchley Park.
At an unveiling ceremony following the rebuild work, one of the Dekatron’s early users Bart Fosey, 85, raced the machine using a modern hand-calculator to see which completed its task first. The race was declared a draw.