Universities UK’s #MadeAtUni campaign is bringing to life the everyday impact universities have on the world around us. The campaign is celebrating 100 of the UK’s best university breakthroughs, including the Baby, the world’s first stored-program computer. The Baby was a landmark development in the history of computing that took place right here at The University of Manchester.
At 11am on 21 June 1948, the Small Scale Experimental Machine – nicknamed the Baby – started to run its first program. Just 52 minutes later, the Baby became the world’s first computer to successfully run a program stored electronically in its memory, cementing itself as a landmark in the history of computing.
The computer was built at the University by Tom Kilburn and Geoff Tootill, following a design by their mentor Frederic Williams. Instrumental in attracting Alan Turing – the mathematical genius who had cracked codes used by the German forces during World War II – to the University, the Baby paved the way for the computers that we use today.