3 Wegematic 1000 Memories

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Clas Grägg

Clas Grägg (Picture Aimo Törn)

An association called Åbo matematikmaskinförening (the Mathematics Machine Society of Turku) had been founded for surveilling the development of mathematics machines ( or electronic brains) and possible acquisition.

In order to prepare for this Jaakko Mäkelä from TY and I were sent on a Fortran course for IBM 650 given by Olli Varho in Helsinki in January 1960. I then held a seminar over the subject at Åbo Akdemi without ever running a program or even seeing a computer.

There was a big enthusiasm for the current new fad, and it was a must to jump the on new train. The Physics Professor Karl-Gustav Fogel was a big enthusiast and was active in creating connections and was very supportive.

The Swedish business man and patron Axel Wenner-Gren had decided to develop, manufacture and sell computing machines. The starting point was an American machine Alwac-3 that was further developed to be Wegematic 1000. The production site was Bollmora outside Stochholm.

I had the opportunity to visit the laboratory in Bollmora in September 1960 in order to get acquainted with the new technique and to test run a program I had developed on their equipment. It was exciting to learn if it worked. As a mathematics student raised in spirit of Prof. Gunnar af Hellström it was evident that the program should work at the first attempt. It did not despite some changes and I was very disappointed. I had to return to Turku without results which was rather awkward. I did not know if the failure was caused by an error in the program or an machine error. Probably there was some simple misunderstanding. Probably I could not approach the engineers with the right questions.