First demonstrated in 1950, this is one of Britain's earliest stored-program computers and the oldest complete general-purpose electronic computer in Britain. Designed and built at the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) in Teddington in 1949-50, it was based on plans for a larger computer (the ACE) designed by the mathematician Alan Turing (1912-54) at NPL between 1945 and 1947. Previously Turing worked on the Colossus computer used in code-breaking at Bletchley Park during the Second World War.
Pilot ACE was estimated to have cost £50,000 to design and build, but by 1954 it had earned over £240,000 from advanced scientific and engineering work in various fields including crystallography, aeronautics and computing bomb trajectories.
Credit: National Physical Laboratory
Object no: 1956-152