About the Collection

The Swansea University’s History of Computing Collection (HOCC) was founded in Autumn 2007 by Professor John Tucker, in collaboration with Steve Williams of the University Library. HOCC is a part of the University’s Research Collections, which is particularly rich in industrial history.

The Collection contains equipment, software, personal archives, ephemera, oral histories, and videos. It also has a substantial library of books and papers about computation. The main Collection is housed in our Science Outreach Centre in the Margam Building. A small selection of items from HOCC has recently been put on public display in the Computational Foundry.

One purpose of HOCC is to study historically the relationship between computing technologies, social change and individuals’ life stories. A guiding idea is that by investigating the local history of computing we will better be able to see and understand the complicated interplay of technical, social, economic and cultural events and phenomena that make the history of a post-war computer revolution.

The Collection is also interested in certain technical specialised areas of the computing, especially

  • Computation before computers
  • Theory and practice of programming
  • Formal methods for software engineering
  • Local and regional histories of computing, especially in Wales

Its Comrie Collection is a substantial collection of books, mathematical tables, articles, notes and correspondence belonging to Leslie John Comrie FRS, the doyen of numerical computation in the first half of the 20th Century.

The Collection has also received generous gifts of papers from Professors Willem-Paul de Roever (Kiel), Peter van Emde Boas (Amsterdam) and Dines Bjørner (Copenhagen) and Jonathan Bowen (London).

The HOCC is a platform for various actions to develop teaching, research, and public awareness of computing and its extraordinary influence.