"Remembering ARRA: A pioneer in Dutch Computing"

On 4 June, the premiere of the short internet movie "Remembering ARRA: A pioneer in Dutch Computing" took place at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI).

Publication date: 09-06-2015

On 4 June, the premiere of the short internet movie "Remembering ARRA: A pioneer in Dutch Computing" took place at Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI). The movie is produced by Google and realized in collaboration with CWI, the national research institute for mathematics and Computer Science in Amsterdam, and made  available on the Google Public Computing Heritage YouTube channel.

The Dutch computer science made history during the fifties. At that time the first Dutch computers, the ARRA I and ARRA II were developed at the Mathematical Centre in Amsterdam  (current CWI) under supervision of Aad van Wijngaarden, founder of the Dutch computer science. Van Wijngaarden played a crucial role in the advancement of the Dutch hardware industry and programming languages such as Algol 60 and Algol 68. Untill today, concepts that were introduced in these programming languages, play a major role.

"The film shows the unique story of the ‘Automatische RelaisRekenmachine Amsterdam’,” says computer historian Gerard Alberts, "Gerrit Blaauw, Jaap Zonneveld and Dirk Dekker bring the story of the ARRA, or rather the two ARRA's, alive."

Google already produced several internet movies with the aim to make the European computer  science heritage available to a wider audience and recognize  the early days of computer pioneers. After Britain, Ukraine, Israel and Austria, there is now a video available for the Netherlands. The Dutch movie was developed with contributions from computer science historian Gerard Alberts (UvA), Paul Klint, Research Fellow at the CWI and computer pioneers Gerrit Blaauw, Dirk Dekker and Jaap Zonneveld.

"The Netherlands has played an important role in the development of computers and expansion of  the European Internet. With this movie, we want to draw attention to this particular history," says James Thiel, director of Google Netherlands. "The movie shows milestones in the Dutch computer history and demonstrates that women played an important role in the creation of the first Dutch computer. Today, this is still an  issue. It is important that we encourage girls for science and programming."