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St. Lawrence River Power Project, 1952


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The first sale of the Manchester Mark I computer built by Ferranti Ltd. was to the University of Toronto in 1951, through the close association of the Ferranti Electric Co. with Professor Watson of the University. The machine was known as FERUT (Ferranti University of Toronto).

In 1952 the University wished to make use of its computer to assist the Canadian Government in its share of the cutting of the St. Lawrence Seaway, and in particular by computing water surface profiles above a dam over a 50-mile stretch of the river past the Thousand Islands. Strachey met Professor Watson in September 1952 (see MS. Eng. misc. b. 258/C.33) and subsequently produced a program with the codename Backwater.

The program was successful as such, but the machine had 'teething troubles' and was difficult to service and maintain at so long a distance.

The project is described in the following extract, quoted by permission from a private history of the Ferranti Computer Group:


  • Creation: 1952

Language of Materials

  • English

Full range of shelfmarks:

MSS. Eng. misc. b. 259/C.37-259/C.38

Repository Details

Part of the Bodleian Libraries Repository

Weston Library
Broad Street
Oxford OX1 3BG United Kingdom