Atlas Computer Laboratory - Overview Atlas Computer: The Chilton Atlas was ordered in September 1961. Installation and commissioning started in June 1964 and an at risk service started in October 1964. The machine was formally handed over in May 1965 and the acceptance period began. By February 1966 it was in full 3-shift operation. Formal acceptance took place in May 1966. This section gives details of the hardware and architecture of both the Atlas I and Atlas II computers together with some history of Ferranti, the company that manufactured the six Atlas computers.
Memories of the Ferranti Atlas computer: The high-performance Atlas computer was developed in the period 1956 – 1962 by a team led by Professor Tom Kilburn at the University of Manchester. The local company Ferranti Ltd. joined the project in 1959. The first production Atlas was inaugurated at Manchester University on 7th December 1962 by Sir John Cockcroft, the Nobel prize-winning physicist who was Director of the UK’s Atomic Energy Authority. At the time of its inauguration, Atlas was reckoned to be the world’s most powerful computer. A total of six Atlas 1 and Atlas 2 computers were delivered between 1962 and 1966.