The Computer Science department at Royal Holloway, University of London, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary this month by taking people on a journey through 200 years of digital technology.
The department is staging a special exhibition called ‘200 years of becoming digital’ exploring the history of computing technology and its effect on society, in particular the contribution of women scientists and engineers.
The university will open its doors to host the exhibition on the evolution of the digital world between 24 September and 29 November. The free display will explore technological change over the past two centuries and its effect on society.
The exhibition has five themes including a ‘Wall of Women’ which celebrates the contribution of women such as Margaret Rock, an alumna of Bedford College, which merged with Royal Holloway in 1985.
Margaret, was recruited in 1940 to work at Bletchley Park, the site of the Government Code and Cypher School which was responsible for decrypting enemy communications during World War II. She was later awarded an MBE for her work within the group that broke the German Military Intelligence Enigma code and was said to be one of the best in the team.
The exhibition also includes a recreation of Charles Babbage’s nineteenth century analytical engine, the forerunner of modern computers; an explanation of the way in which miniaturisation has driven increases in computer speed (a process that will soon come to a halt) and the use of digital technologies in the entertainment industries.
Adrian Johnstone, Professor of Computing at Royal Holloway said: “This is an opportunity to not only celebrate our 50th anniversary but show how the technology which now impacts on all aspects of our lives originated.
“In the 50 years since our computing department opened we have seen massive changes in the technologies available and how they are used.
“We particularly want to celebrate the contribution of women in science and engineering. It’s fascinating to see that computing science originally attracted many women into the discipline. Women are now under-represented in this sector and we must reverse this trend. Highlighting the contribution women have made in the past and the great opportunities which now exist is an important part of this exhibition,” added Professor Johnstone.
Royal Holloway is one of the UK’s leading centres for research into Computer Science and the work carried out at the university lead to the design and building of novel practical computing systems and their application in the real world.