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Celebrating 120 years of measurement science

1946:  Work began on the Automatic Computing Engine

Work began in 1946 on the world’s first Automatic Computing Engine (ACE) with the final improved version going into service in 1958. The total cost of developing the ACE was £250,000. It was soon used for solving partial differential equations for applications including the design of aircraft, ships and electronic apparatus. 

Alan Turing was part of a group being formed for the design, construction and use of a large automatic computing engine. During his time at NPL, he made the first plan of the ACE and carried out a great deal of pioneering work in the design of subroutines.  

Today, NPL’s data scientists are helping organisations analyse and use data with confidence. We are developing data standards and platforms to help collect, connect and comprehend data, as well as evaluate uncertainty to support traceability and reliable decision-making.  From mapping the spread of disease to monitoring climate change, data holds the key to solving some of the world's biggest challenges. Dependable decisions rely on understanding the provenance and reliability of data.

NPL extracts meaning from complex data to help society and organisations use data with confidence. 

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