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The 2024 Tony Sale Award for Computer Conservation

Tony Sale Award 2024: The Jury’s Verdict

Fabien Wernli representing Association MO5 accepted the award and gave a splendid history of the Micral N and of the project to reconstruct it.
He is seen here in front of the Harwell Dekatron at TNMoC delivering his lecture.

The award was presented at the National Museum of Computing (TNMoC) at Bletchley Park.

The Tony Sale Award began in 2012 as a biennial event. Because of the interruption of the pandemic, the 2024 Award was the first since 2018. The Award has always been international in its scope, and this year was no exception. We had a total of five entries, one from France, two from the United States, one from Ukraine, and one from the UK.

In keeping with the international scope of the Award, there was an internationally representative jury. The judges included Paul Ceruzzi, curator emeritus at the National Air and Space Museum, Washington D.C., where he oversaw the computing exhibits. We were delighted to have David Link, an artist and media theorist from Germany – who also won the 2012 Tony Sale Award. And from the UK we had Professor Simon Lavington, a distinguished author of several books on early British computing and well known to all CCS members. From Wales we had Professor John Tucker, formerly pro-vice chancellor of the University of Swansea and warden of the University’s History of Computing Collection. And lastly, we had Professor Jonathan Bowen, chair of the BCS Specialist Group on Formal Aspects of Computing Science and an authority on Alan Turing.

All the judging panel were impressed by the very high standard of the submissions for the Award. Every one of the entrants was a potential winner, and worthy of an Award. Interestingly, this year three of the submissions were for “virtual” rather than physical reconstructions of early computers: there was a web-based virtualization of the ICT 1301 computer from the UK; from Ukraine there was a simulation and software reconstruction of the country’s second digital computer, the Kyiv; and from the United States the SIMH project enables the emulation of practically any digital computer. A fourth project was the restoration of Medley Interlisp, Xerox PARC's version of the Lisp programming language initiated in the 1960s.

However, there could only be one winner. After a great deal of deliberation by the jury, the Tony Sale Award for 2024 went to France’s Association MO5 for the hardware and software reconstruction of the Micral N microcomputer of 1972. This was not only France’s first microcomputer, but among the very first in the world.

Martin Campbell-Kelly, chair of the judging panel

About the Tony Sale Award

The purpose of the Tony Sale Award is to recognise a singular achievement in the area of computer conservation and restoration by a person or group, and to give public recognition to such work worldwide. The emphasis is on highlighting a significant practical project, which may involve hardware and/or software.

This international Award was established by the Computer Conservation Society (CCS) in 2012 in memory of Tony Sale www.sale-award.org/aboutTS.htm who passed away in 2011.

Engagement through working machines is a signature feature of Tony Sale’s legacy and The National Museum of Computing (TNMoC) is a natural home for the Award. This year CCS will be collaborating with TNMoC as follows:

  • CCS remains responsible for management, organisation and administration.
  • TNMoC will host the award ceremony and secure sponsors/donors to fund the Award. The independent Judging Panel for the 2024 Award will be chaired by Professor Martin Campbell-Kelly.
  • Assessment and Judging will take place during February/March, with the winner being publicly announced at an Award ceremony at TNMoC, Bletchley, UK, on Wednesday 22nd May 2024.

Assessment and Judging Criteria

The following criteria will help the judges in their assessment of the projects:

Originality: To what extent does the project demonstrate a novel approach to conservation or reconstruction?
Completeness: Has the project achieved, within the last five years, its initial goals ?
Ingenuity: What new techniques or processes were developed during the project?
Impact: What contribution has the work made to increasing the understanding of the history of computing?
Outreach: Is the result of the work visible to experts in the field and/or to the general public? To what extent has the work already been disseminated?

The Judging Panel reserves the right not to make an award.

The Award

The Award comprises a trophy and the sum of £1,000 to be put towards the winning project.

The individual winner, or representative of the winning group, will be expected to attend the meeting on 22th May 2024 at The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley, UK, to accept the Award, and give a presentation on the project, lasting about one hour, including technical details, and a question-and-answer session. Reasonable expenses for travel and accommodation will be paid.


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Tony Sale

Tony Sale and Colossus
The Tony Sale Award Trophy

The Tony Sale Award is presented in remembrance of the late Tony Sale, one of the two co-founders of the Computer Conservation Society and was a co-founding trustee of the National Museum of Computing in 2005.

Tony Sale was an inspirational figure whose efforts to reconstruct a Second World War Colossus codebreaking machine pioneered much of the present day work of the Society.