The "Blue Sky" Computer
Trevor Pearcey and Murray Allen were occasionally brought together at
conferences from the late 1950s. They started a game to design the
perfect computer - an impractical, "blue sky" project which they
christened "CIRRUS". By the time they had a paper design from the
hardware right up to compilers and a multi-user operating system it
seemed a waste not to try and build it. With difficulty they got
funding at the University of Adelaide.
CIRRUS and workstations
(University of Adelaide photo)
Also involved in the development were Gordon Rose, John Penny and
John Sanderson. The machine was used from 1962 and was very successful
- but it never got the industry backing that the developers thought was
possible. The design team subsequently contributed to a number of major
projects in Canada and the UK.
CIRRUS has been preserved at the University of Adelaide though it is not currently on display.
John Deane has started work on a history of CIRRUS. If you were a user or have any CIRRUS documentation please get in touch.