First Computer // Digital Future


Years 7-10
Friday 15 November 2019
Maximum 120 students

Science, Technology

School programs and resources

A special education event on Friday 15 November to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of CSIRAC – Australia’s first computer.

It was a remarkable feat of innovation! An electric brain that could calculate a thousand times faster than a human. Some researchers would wait patiently for months to use this supercomputer in the 1950s and 60s. Others used their research down time to create the world’s first electronic music.

Australia’s first computer CSIRAC (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Automatic Computer) weighed 7 tonnes and had around 2KB of memory. Today you may carry a computer in your pocket with millions of times more storage.

Explore how information technology has changed over time in the Think Ahead exhibition at Scienceworks where you can marvel at a restored CSIRAC. Hear from guest speakers on the importance of Victorian research into computing, data science and where computer science is headed in the future. Students will also participate in a workshop presentation about electronic music in honour of CSIRAC’s legacy in computer music.

Follow the MV Teachers First Computer // Digital Future Facebook event page for details on speakers as they are updated.


When What
9.30am Students arrive via Planetarium Foyer entrance

Guest speakers: "The history and importance of computing in Victoria"

  • What was it like to use CSIRAC as a student?
  • How did CSIRAC process data? Why is data science important?
10.40am Morning Tea Break

Students divide into two groups (after 60 minutes groups swap over):

  • Group 1 CSIRAC electronic music workshop with guests from Collarts
  • Group 2 Visit CSIRAC computer, Think Ahead exhibition and Beyond Perception exhibition

Lunch in amphitheatre with Q&A session with guest scientists/speakers – "Computers then and now"

  • What can we do now with computers that was complete science fiction back in CSIRAC’s day?
  • What computing power do we have to look forward to that seems like science fiction to us now?

Event ends


In partnership with the Pearcey Foundation


Curriculum links

Digital Technologies (Year 7-10)

  • Digital Systems: hardware and software interactions
  • Data and Information: data representation in binary
  • Creating Digital Solutions: analysing, designing, developing, evaluating

Design Technologies (Year 7-10)

  • Technologies contexts: Engineering principles and systems

Science (Year 7-10)

  • Physical sciences: Sound, electric circuits, electromagnetism