DEUCE

The National Physical Laboratory at Teddington, which had designed and built the Pilot ACE, had co-operated with the English Electric Company in producing a properly engineered version of that machine. It was christened DEUCE and the first production machine was delivered in 1955. The company went on to develop DEUCE 2 (late 1955) and DEUCE 2A (1957). Overall the company sold some 31 DEUCE 1 and 2 computers between 1955 and 1964. Two of these machines were installed at Farnborough in 1955 (Gert) and 1956 (Daisy).

A 1958 recruitment pamphlet for the RAE describes DEUCE as follows:

DEUCE, Digital Electronic Universal Computing Engine, is an automatic digital computer which can be made to perform any type of calculation at very high speed. Addition or subtraction of two numbers takes place at the rate of 16,000 per second; multiplication and division at the rate of 500 per second.

Both numbers and operating instructions, coded in binary are:

  1. represented in the machine by trains of electric pulses, the pulse interval being one millionth of a second.
  2. stored as re-circulating ultrasonic pulses in mercury (capacity 12,000 binary digits) and as patterns of magnetisation on the surface of a rotating drum (capacity 260,000 binary digits).
  3. supplied to DEUCE as a pattern of holes punched in Hollerith cards. Answers are given out in the same form and printed separately.

DEUCE had a complicated '2+1' instruction format. Each instruction specified one source, one destination and the next instruction source. The word length was 32 bits.


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