British Computing Trailblazer Sir Maurice Wilkes Dies Aged 97

Sir Maurice Wilkes, the ‘father’ of British computing has died aged 97.

Wilkes was famed for building EDSAC (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator), an early computer that provided the template for the British computing industry.

He studied maths at Cambridge University, during which time he worked heavily on simple calculating machines, before going on to help with the development of Radar during the Second World War.

After the war he returned to Cambridge to begin work on the project that would eventually produce EDSAC in 1949.

Computer Historian Dr Simon Lavington said of the influential project: "The EDSAC group was the most influential of the early British computing teams, most especially in setting high standards for the development of software and the organisation of a computing service to scientists and engineers."

EDSAC managed to gain investment from catering company J Lyons, leading to LEO which was one of the first dedicated business computers in the country.

After his retirement Wilkes continued to work with computers as a consultant for DEC and Olivetti’s research labs.

"If any person deserves the title of the father of British computing, it is surely Professor Sir Maurice Wilkes," Lavington added.