Hunting for Government's Oldest Computer
Interested in helping out? Pick an agency that’s not listed below, and click here to clone the request language. After that, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll add it to the list. Happy hunting!
A recently released Government Accountability Office report solved the mystery of the government’s oldest computer, which surprisingly enough, isn’t a technically a computer in the conventional sense. Even more surprisingly, The Simpsons accurately predicted the winner back in 1998.
Allan Lasser received spreadsheet from the Department of Energy, listing all the computer hardware they currently have in their headquarters office. With this digital copy, we can ask some simple questions against their inventory and get answers very quickly. And make cool charts!
From the first mechanical counters to the first digital computers, the U.S. Census Bureau has lead the computer revolution since the 19th Century. Their decennial upgrade cycle means they’re operating on modern hardware, with their oldest active computer dating back to just 1999.
The hunt is on! You answered our call and sent in some great tips, which we’ve used to start filing. Plus: a new computer is discovered.
As the saying goes, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” If a machine is doing its job, reliably and without error, then common sense dictates that you just shouldn’t mess with it. This is doubly true for computers and quadruply true for government computers. This lends itself to an obvious question: what’s the government computer most in need of an upgrade?
Allan Lasser sent this request to the North American Aerospace Defense Command--Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado of the United States of America