Tech Pioneer, Steve Furber launches Summer Festival

Viva Computer! A People’s History of Home Computing summer festival and new exhibition opened on Sunday 26 June.

The launch event, hosted by tech entrepreneur and Acorn founder Hermann Hauser, included a guest appearance from computer pioneer, Steve Furber, Professor of Computer Engineering at the University of Manchester, – a principal designer of the BBC Micro (1982), the Acorn RISC Machine (1985), and now working on SpiNNaker – in conversation with BBC technology writer Bill Thompson.

Over 50 invited guests, including Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner, were welcomed to the Centre by CCH Trustee and Chief Technology Officer of ARM, Mike Muller.

Centre CEO, Jason Fitzpatrick said: “We are really delighted that Steve could join us for the festival launch. His involvement is hugely valued by all our team of staff and volunteers. No one could be more appropriate! Steve has enjoyed an unparalleled career in computer engineering. His reputation is acknowledged across the world and it all started here in Cambridge.

Bill Thompson and Steve Furber

"Equally, Bill Thompson always dazzles with his close knowledge of the subject. His understanding of Steve's career is second to none.

"We are extremely grateful to both Steve and Bill for making the launch a truly memorable occasion. Their filmed conversation will now become a valuable addition to the Viva Computer! archive and available online."

The Viva Computer! festival is the highpoint of an 18 month project, supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, to record the memories of the engineers, inventors, microchip designers, game developers, tech entrepreneurs and tech users who have helped create the high-tech world we live in today. The exhibition focuses on a number of these stories. It's designed to be a celebration of Cambridge’s computing history, told by the people who made it and the people who use it.

Hermann Hauser

Mike Muller

Audience with Steve Furber
The month-long festival is centred around four themed weekends, with each including a range of hands-on workshops, talks, events and lots of fun stuff for families.

The entertainment kicks off this weekend (July 2-3) with Come, See and Make History! Visitors will be able to explore high-tech tales of the computing pioneers, software wizards, innovative engineers, gamers and entrepreneurs who made Cambridge the nation’s foremost tech hub. They will also be encouraged to make history of their own by joining the Centre’s ‘great gadget’ vox-pop recorded for posterity.

Raspberry Pi founder, Eben Upton will be on hand to lead a coding workshop, as well as tell the story of the Raspberry Pi project and how it fits into the history of computing in Cambridge.

Jason Fitzpatrick said: “We believe we have put together a programme which genuinely has something to offer everyone. We are also very excited about unveiling our new audio-visual archive of memories. Many of the stories, just like Steve Furber's, are fascinating and inspirational!”

All events are free 

Normal admission applies


Heritage Lottery Fund
Viva Computer! is supported by a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). Using money raised through the National Lottery, the HLF aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help to build a resilient heritage economy. In the East of England, HLF has awarded more than £438m to over 3,500 projects over the past two decades. 

The Centre for Computing History is a charity and heritage organisation with a strong focus on education. Much more than a museum, it hosts hands-on exhibitions, learning workshops and a wide range of events to make the history of computing relevant and fun for all ages.

Viva Computer!
Cambridge has been a high-tech hub since the 1960s, a place where people with innovative ideas, engineering brilliance and a pioneering start-up mentality spin out technological ideas that change the world.

The Viva Computer! team has interviewed more than 40 people personally involved in the ‘Cambridge Phenomenon’.

All the stories, freely available on the Viva Computer! audio-visual archive, help us gain a deeper appreciation of the computing industry’s history of innovation, and Cambridge’s unique position within it.

For further information please contact:

Elaine Symonds


Tel: 01223 214446 M: 0733179293 

Photographs: Terry Harris - Centre for Computing History (c)


Date : 27-06-2016

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