2018 Tony Sale Award for computer conservation – nominations open

Nominations are invited for the 2018 Tony Sale Award for Computer Conservation. The award, open to any individual or group anywhere in the world, recognizes achievements in computer conservation or restoration.

Sir Maurice Wilkes with Tony Sale looking at Colossus at The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park, 2009.

First established in 2012 in memory of computer conservation pioneer Tony Sale, who rebuilt Colossus, the World War II code-breaking computer. It was instigated and is managed by the Computer Conservation Society and sponsored by Google UK.

The closing date for nominations is 30 June 2018. Presentation of a £1000 cash award and trophy will be made in London on 15 November 2018. The winner will also receive travelling and accommodation expenses to attend the Awards Ceremony in London and give a presentation.

The three previous winners of the award already show the growing breadth and depth of computer conservation. The 2016 winner was the Heinz-Nixdorf MuseumsForum for its evocative and educational reconstruction showing how ENIAC, one of the first electronic computers, was programmed. In 2014, there were joint winners: the IBM 1401 Demo Lab, a restoration of one of the most significant machines in computer history by the Computer History Museum in California, and Z1 Architecture and Algorithms, a virtual reconstruction of the 1930’s Konrad Zuse mechanical computer, by the Free University of Berlin. The inaugural award in 2012 was won by David Link of Germany for his computer art installation, Loveletters.

Judging panel chairman computer historian Professor Martin Campbell-Kelly welcomed the growing diversity of award entries: “When we first set up the award, we really weren’t sure what to expect. We didn’t fully appreciate the extent or breadth of computer conservation work that was going on across the world. As the previous entries and winners show, the subject is thriving, and imaginations are being fired. Last year, interest in the subject was so high that we were able to hold the first international conference of computer conservationists. We look forward eagerly to this year’s entries.”

Projects may cover hardware and/or software and represent any period in computing history. Projects may be the work of individuals or a team.

The main judging criteria for the 2018 award are:

  • Originality: To what extent does the project demonstrate a novel approach to conservation or reconstruction?
  • Completeness: Has the project achieved the initial goals set?
  • 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?
  • Publicity: To what extent has the work already been publicised or written up?

Details and the entry form are available at the Tony Sale Award website.

Completed entries should be sent to Mrs Peta Walmisley, Administrator of the Award.

The Computer Conservation Society is a Specialist Group of the BCS, the Chartered Institute for IT; in association with the Science Museum in London, the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, The National Museum of Computing and the Bletchley Park Trust.