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200 Years Exhibition

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An exhibition in the Emily Wilding Davison Building

  • Date02 October 2018

Follow the trail that leads from bronze digit wheels to the computer in your pocket.


This exhibition, which runs until November 28th, 2018, is open every day 10.00-18.00 (20.00 on Thursdays) in the Emily Wilding Davison Building.

It traces the development of computing ideas and technology since the 1820s through four themes:

  • The mechanical prehistory of computing – How were tables of logarithms made in the 19th century? See a steam driven calculator and a mechanical noughts and crosses machine along with a modern 3D printer.
  • #ilooklikeanengineer – Female participation in computing slumped in the 1960s as programming became seen as a technical profession, and again in the 1980s as the home computer revolution took hold. Can we reverse the trend?
  • Moore’s Law from beginning to end – We have become used to computers getting faster and faster, as their internal components become smaller. This trend has now slowed and will stop soon because matter is granular, and we cannot reduce the width of a wire that is only a few atoms across. See how memory density has increased exponentially over 200 years.
  • Toys, games and deep learning – Leisure activities are now dominated by digital technologies. See examples of robots, games consoles and animations. Learn how the superfast hardware in games consoles has been harnessed to speed up training of artificial intelligence applications. Can you distinguish real-Obama from synthetic-Obama?

The exhibition is part of our programme of events celebrating the 50th anniversary of Computer Science at Royal Holloway.

We would like to thank the curatorial team: Adrian Johnstone (Professor of Computing, Royal Holloway), Elizabeth Scott (Professor of Computer Science, Royal Holloway), Ursula Martin CBE (Professor of Computer Science at Oxford University and Honorary Fellow of Royal Holloway), Sydney Padua (graphic artist and animator), and Doron Swade MBE (museum curator and author, and Honorary Fellow of Royal Holloway).

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