Swords and Ploughshares: Connections between Computer Projects for War and Peace, 1945 – 55

  • Simon Lavington
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 6875)


The links between wartime defence projects and the development of the stored-program digital computer need to be examined against both a theoretical and a practical background. After briefly commenting on the cultural differences between these two domains, this paper explores the practical outcomes of links between one particular company, Elliott Brothers (London) Ltd., and the Admiralty’s requirements for the defence of ships against attack by aircraft. Between 1946 and 1955 the Elliott company completed several digital computing projects for various military objectives. From these projects came the design and implementation of several production computers that gained acceptance in the market place. These machines are tangible examples, so to speak, of swords being turned into ploughshares.


Digital Computer Computer Project Digital Computing Military Objective English Electric 
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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

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  • Simon Lavington

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