Oral history interview with David J. Wheeler

Thumbnail Image

View/Download File

Persistent link to this item

View Statistics

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Oral history interview with David J. Wheeler

Published Date



Charles Babbage Institute


Oral History


Wheeler, who was a research student at the University Mathematical Laboratory at Cambridge from 1948-51, begins with a discussion of the EDSAC project during his tenure. He compares the research orientation and the programming methods at Cambridge with those at the Institute for Advanced Study. He points out that, while the Cambridge group was motivated to process many smaller projects from the larger university community, the Institute was involved with a smaller number of larger projects. Wheeler mentions some of the projects that were run on the EDSAC, the user-oriented programming methods that developed at the laboratory, and the influence of the EDSAC model on the ILLIAC, the ORDVAC, and the IBM 701. He also discusses the weekly meetings held in conjunction with the National Physical Laboratory, the University of Birmingham, and the Telecommunications Research Establishment. These were attended by visitors from other British institutions as well as from the continent and the United States. Wheeler notes visits by Douglas Hartree (of Cavendish Laboratory), Nelson Blackman (of ONR), Peter Naur, Aad van Wijngarden, Arthur van der Poel, Friedrich L. Bauer, and Louis Couffignal. In the final part of the interview Wheeler discusses his visit to Illinois where he worked on the ILLIAC and taught from September 1951 to September 1953.


Transcript, 27 pp. Audio file available at http://purl.umn.edu/95492

Related to



Series/Report Number

Funding information

Isbn identifier

Doi identifier

Previously Published Citation

David J. Wheeler, OH 132. Oral history interview by William Aspray, 14 May 1987, Princeton, New Jersey. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. http://purl.umn.edu/107711

Suggested citation

Wheeler, David J., 1927-. (1987). Oral history interview with David J. Wheeler. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/107711.

Content distributed via the University Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor. By using these files, users agree to the Terms of Use. Materials in the UDC may contain content that is disturbing and/or harmful. For more information, please see our statement on harmful content in digital repositories.