Grammar School

My first encounter with a digital computer. I think it was a pegasus. We were given a lesson on the programming language prior to visiting the computer in Bradford. I coded up a digital to binary conversion routine, but was disappointed to discover that the resulting "binary numbers" contained lots of "9"s. Still, apart from these unanticipated minor imprecisions, it worked fine.

The most enjoyable examination I ever did was the Cambridge Entrance exam. The questions were really interesting. I estimated the power which would be generated by a tidal barrage on the river seven. Until they asked the question, I had no idea that I knew how to do it. The other question I remember answering was about the design of a digital adder.

Cambridge offered me a place, and I turned down Manchester, who at that time had the only Computer Science course in the country. On the face of it this was a mistake.

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