We are 50 years old!

The School was founded on 1 October 1964, when Tom Kilburn became the first Professor of Computer Science and Head of School. Over the past 5 decades, we have contributed numerous innovations in technology and its integration into society. Exciting new discoveries are ahead as we take computing into the future.

During 2014 we celebrated our 50th anniversary. We put this page together to showcase some of the interesting facts and figures that capture the essence of our School. We hope you enjoy them!

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9 Heads of School

The School has been led by 9 generations of Heads, shown here. Each has brought their own unique leadership style to the task, guiding the School through the various challenges and opportunities that have arisen. As Computer Science is redefined again and again over the decades, Manchester adapts and shapes the future of the subject.

28 undergraduate students in our first intake of October 1965

The Department was founded in 1964, accepting its first intake of undergraduates in October 1965. We expanded to postgraduate and research degrees in the years following, and nowadays receive annually over 3,000 applications for our courses. The first intake of students consisted of 24 men and 4 women. One of those four women, Linda Brackenbury, went on to be a lecturer here - contributing to our School until her retirement in 2011.

Two Manchester computers 50 years apart

A very large room!
Instructions per second
19 millimetres square
Instructions per second


In October 1964, the Manchester Atlas machine was the most powerful computer in the world. Atlas was the first computer in the world to use a "single-level store", a technique we now know as "virtual memory". This technique is now used in almost every computer on the planet, from smartphones to the most powerful supercomputers.

SpiNNaker chip

In 2014, Manchester continues to lead the world. The SpiNNAker machine, developed by Professor Steve Furber and his team, is a ground-breaking new computer architecture that integrates 1 million ARM processors, and is inspired by the workings of the human brain. The completed machine is expected to be used by neuroscientists and psychologists, as a platform to study problems such as Alzheimer's disease.

8,000* cups of coffee consumed during Information Management Group meetings since its foundation in 1997.
* give or take a few…

The IMG group conducts research into the design, development and use of data and knowledge management systems. Research is motivated by many challenging applications, in particular the Semantic Web and e-Science.

The regular Thursday coffee club provides a chance for staff and students to interact informally, exchange ideas and keep up with the latest news.

5 members of staff have received honours from the Queen

Tom Kilburn CBE 1973
Sir Freddie Williams CBE 1976
Chris Taylor OBE 2000
Steve Furber CBE 2008
Carole Goble CBE 2014

249,815 citations

Number of citations to research papers written by our academic staff, as of December 2014.

Our academic staff's work has been cited hundreds of thousands of times by researchers and scientists across the world, but research at Manchester goes beyond just these figures. Our aim is to apply our expertise to find solutions to the great challenges faced by society. We strive to shape the international agenda in collaboration with our partners in industry, government and academia. Our technologies have made genuine impact across numerous sectors, including the NHS, the movie industry, and financial markets, among many others.

6,499 entries from 684 schools to our annual Animation Competitions

Each year since 2008 we have run an Animation Competition to inspire and encourage young people through Computer Science.

7 baby ducks born in our garden last year

Our garden seems to be an attractive place for the mother duck - each year we call in an animal rescue service to take the mother and her babies to somewhere more suitable for them. Photo opportunities of the ducklings are a popular summer event!

Our staff

The makeup of the School's staff in 2014 Our staff is made up of a near equal mix of lecturers and professors, researchers, and support staff. In 2013 one of our staff won the SET (Science, Engineering and Technology) Lecturer of the Year Award.

Our awards

The proportions of different degrees issued since 1965 We have awarded almost 10,000 degrees since our first intake in 1965. Our PhD programme has won the national award for the best Computer Science PhD four times since 2001.

Our students

The composition (by degree type) of our 13-14 student population Our 2013-2014 student population is a cosmopolitan bunch made up of a mix of home and overseas students. Our alumni are based in 105 different countries across the world - from Chile to China.

11 key recommendations for change to the UK National Curriculum in Computing

(As recommended by a Royal Society panel - chaired by our very own Professor Steve Furber)

We are committed to a leading role in continuing professional development of UK School teachers - we guide government policy, offer training courses for teachers, and opportunities for schoolchildren to be involved with exciting new technologies.

Hilary Kahn

First female Professor appointed 1 July 1995

Hilary taught in the School for over 40 years, contributing in countless ways. One of her final contributions to the life of our School is pictured - she commissioned a mosaic artwork, depicting the past, present and future of computing. A disc from Tom Kilburn's fourth computer, Atlas, and several computer chips and computer images were used as part of the mosaic, situated in the Kilburn Building. Thank you, Hilary.

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