RENWICK, William

Published: 20 November, 2023  Author: admin


CSAC 84/2/82 CONTEMPORARY SCIENTIFIC ARCHIVES CENTRE British National Committee for the History of Science, Medicine and Technology under the guidance of the Royal Society’s Catalogue of the papers of WILLIAM RENWICK (1924 - 1971) Deposited in the University Library, Cambridge Including material relating to the EDSAC computer All rights reserved 1982 Compiled by: Jeannine Alton Julia Latham- Jackson W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 The work of the Contemporary Scientific Archives Centre, and the production of this catalogue, are made possible by the support of the following societies and institutions: The Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland The Biochemical Society The British Pharmacological Society The Charles Babbage Foundation for the History of Information Processing The Institute of Physics — The Institution of Electrical Engineers The Nuffield Foundation The Physiological Society The Royal Society of London W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 LIST OF CONTENTS GENERAL INTRODUCTION SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL SECTION B RESEARCH NOTES AND LECTURES SECTION C PUBLICATIONS SECTION D THE EDSAC W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 GENERAL INTRODUCTION NOTE ON THE CAREER OF WILLIAM RENWICK William Renwick was educated at Forth Primary and Lanark Grammar Schools, and at the University of Glasgow, 1941 - 43, where he graduated B.Sc. in Mathematics, Physics and Electronics. From 1943 to 1947 he worked on radar at the Admiralty Signals Establishment, and in 1947 was appointed University Demonstrator in the Mathematical Laboratory, Cambridge (M.A. 1949) where he became responsible for the direction and supervision of R. and D. in the Digital Computer Department and was one of the team which developed the EDSAC computer (see Section D). He became Senior Assistant in Research at the Mathematical Laboratory, and in 1958 joined the Plessey Company at the Electronic Research Laboratory, Roke Manor, Romsey. In 1965, on the formation of the Company's Automatic Group at Poole, he became its first Research Manager, the position he held at the time of his death in 1971 at the age of 47. Computer Technology' (see A. 2). Renwick was married, with two daughters. Renwick is commemorated by two annual prizes funded by the Plessey Company: the William Renwick Memorial Prize to the author of 'the highest quality "to the candidate who has attained the highest standard in the honours examination in technical paper published by its employees', and a prize at University College, Swansea Plessey Library, Poole. The material was received from Mrs. J.K.M. Renwick via Plessey Controls Limited and through the good offices of Professor M.V. Wilkes, FRS. PROVENANCE OF THE COLLECTION The published material in Section C was made available by the W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS We are pleased to acknowledge the help given by Dr. C.E. Phelps (Oxford University Computing Service) in identifying manuscript material, and by Mr. D.F. Osborne (Information and Library Services, Plessey Controls Limited) and Dr. D.F. Hartley (Cambridge University Computing Service) in providing information. W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 SECTION A BIOGRAPHICAL AND PERSONAL A.1-A.3 A.1 Obituary tributes. Career note from Plessey Company. Miscellaneous information on Renwick Memorial Prizes at Plessey Company, and University College, Swansea. Miscellaneous items: photograph of Renwick (from Plessey Company), review of Renwick's book Digital Storage Systems, 1964, 1.E.E. Conference notice. W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 SECTION 8 RESEARCH NOTES AND LECTURES B.1- 8.5 Loop binder, inscribed 'CIRCUITS' inside front cover. Ms. notes on circuits, on poor quality wartime paper, n.d., perhaps taken at Glasgow University. Large ledger-type loose-leaf binder, inscribed 'William Renwick B.Sc.' inside front cover. Ms. notes on Fundamentals of Electricity, Triodes, Oscillators, Amplifiers, Transmission Lines, Utet etc., n.d., perhaps written up from lectures at Glasgow University where Renwick graduated B.Sc. in 1943. Binder inscribed 'SUPERSONICS' on front cover. Miscellaneous mathematical calculations and modelling, leading to note at rear of binder ‘Attenuation of Supersonics Lin delay lines ] in Mercury’ (as later used in EDSAC I). 'The two facets of Plessey Poole’. Description by Renwick of work of Poole division, and of new 'o.c.r.' (optical character reading) machine, as n.d., but perhaps part of work on EDSAC at Mathematical Laboratory, Cambridge. 14 pp. ms. lecture on 'Impact of Automation', n.d., probably late 1960s after Renwick's move to become first Manager of Automation Group Research Laboratory of Plessey Company. reported in New Electronics, January-February 1971. W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 SECTION C PUBLICATIONS Folder of published papers by Renwick (some collaborative), 1955-72, the last of these being posthumous; book review, n.d., ¢.1956; letter to Electronic Engineering, c.1956. For additional articles by Wilkes and Renwick on the EDSAC, see D.3. A note of published work held in the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory Library, kindly made available by the Librarian, is included in the folder. W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 SECTION D THE EDSAC D.1-D.5 (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator) The EDSAC was one of the earliest electronic calculating machines, developed in the University Mathematical Laboratory, Cambridge, by M.V. Wilkes and colleagues. At a conference on High Speed Calculating-Machines, held at Cambridge 22-25 June 1949, and the first of its kind in Britain, the machine was presented jointly by Wilkes and Renwick. D.1 ‘Progress Report on the Automatic Computing Engine’, by J.H. Wilkinson, April 1948. The report is 'a general introduction to the work carried out by Dr. Turing [A.M. Turing] and his collaborators during the last two years at the National Physical Laboratory’. Mathematics Division report, 127 pp. duplicated typescript. ‘Report of a Conference on High Speed Automatic Calculating- Machines', Cambridge, 22-25 June 1949, issued by the University Mathematical Laboratory, Cambridge, with the Co-operation of the Ministry of Supply, January 1950. Renwick's personal copy, with his signature on the front cover. 141 pp. duplicated typescript. Spring-back binder of press-cuttings, photographs and articles re EDSAC, 1947-49, 8" x 44" inside frame. Includes group photograph of members of the Mathematical Laboratory, 1947-48, 1948-49, and two articles by Wilkes and Renwick, 'An Ultrasonic Memory Unit for the EDSAC', Electronic Engineering, 20, July 1948, and 'The EDSAC - an Electronic Calculating Machine’, J. Scientific Instru- ments & Phys. in Ind., 26, December 1949, Framed original of the first output from EDSAC. Squares from zero to 99, n.d., but October 1947. W. Renwick CSAC 84/2/82 D5 Framed photograph of EDSAC, at University Mathematical Laboratory, Cambridge. Dated on verso October 1947. 19"x 15" inside frame.