Jawahar Lal Nehru, Homi Bhabha, and M.S. Narasimhan with the TIFRAC

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research

Tata Institute of Fundamental Research
Mumbai, India

Professor M.S. Narasimhan is seen with Jawaharlal Nehru and Homi Bhabha, demonstrating the first Indian digital computer, named as Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Automatic Calculator (TIFRAC), at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR).

1. TIFRAC had minimal hardware, mainly CPU with memory of 1024 words of 40 bits each. Paper tape was the only input and Teleprinter the only output device.

2. Basic software consisted of Bootstrap and a simple program to store user programs and library of a few subroutines. Program development was cumbersome and time consuming.

3. TIFRAC required good air-conditioning. Its hardware had contact problems.

4. TIFRAC was a good starting point, to use computers for academic purpose. It was a starting point for computer usage in the country. IBM has just entered the computer market in India, mainly for commercial use; IBM1401 being the first commercial machine and IBM1620 being the first academic machine.

5. TIFRAC was formally commissioned on 22nd Feb, 1960. It was named by the Late Prime Minister Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1962. A simple program printed out the name “TIFRAC” on the Teleprinter and also displayed it on the Memotron Display device. TIFRAC remained in operation till mid 1964. By that time, CDC3600 machine had become functional in TIFR. TIFRAC was finally sent to ISI-Banglore.

6. TIFRAC users were mainly academic viz. from Cosmic Ray section of TIFR, University of Madras, ISI-Banglore, and Central Water and Power Research (CWPR) Pune, to name a few amongst them.

7. The idea of building a digital computer took shape when Prof. R Narasinham joined Prof. D.Y.Phadke‟s group in TIFR. Prof. R Narasinham had studied the University of Illinois Computer, ILLIAC. The pilot model of TIFRAC was ready around 1957, at Old Yatch Club establishment of TIFR.

8. Near about the commissioning of TIFRAC, following persons had joined the group. They later looked after the maintainance of TIFRAC: Mr D S Kamat (incharge), Mr R R Nargundkar, Mr R K Shah, and Mr S B Kulkarni."


  • Title: Jawahar Lal Nehru, Homi Bhabha, and M.S. Narasimhan with the TIFRAC
  • Subject Keywords: Computer, First Computer in India
  • Type: Computer
  • Rights: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research Archives
  • Inventor: Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR)

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