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Congress 2013

On June 5, 2013 the History and Archives group will be presenting a paper at Congress in Victoria, Canada

"Click, Whir, Zing, ZOT! You've Got a Date!: The Early Use of Computers on a University Campus"


  • Research and funding priorities regarding computer technology.
  • The administrative use of the computer and the campus reception including growing anxieties specifically about privacy and data collection.
  • Entertainment uses of the computer like dating and match-making.

A 1966 article in the University of Alberta student newspaper The Gateway begins with: "Attention, love-starved students. Tired of sitting home on Friday nights reading "Gulliver's Travels"? Board with lonely carrels in Cameron Library? Through away your books, your solitude, and your inhibitions. Cupid Computer, the scientific approach to dating is presently being introduced at the U of A by Terry Jackson, pharm 2, and Ross Gorrell, dent 3. Jackson and Gorrell are currently flooding the campus with 11,000 lilac-coloured questionnaires, printed in passionate purple".

Computers made their way onto the campuses of large post-secondary institutions beginning in the late 1940s (Scott, "The Computing Centre"). In 1957 the University of Alberta became the third university in Canada with a computing facility, preceded by the University of Toronto in 1948 and the University of British Columbia also in 1957. In Edmonton the Royal McBee LGP 30 was primarily used for numerical calculations and was quickly being used around the clock. Soon the LPG 30 was replaced with an IBM 1620 and an IBM 7040 after that.

Royal McBee LGP 30
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