【Empirical Seminar】From Computors to Computers: The EDSAC and Cambridge Microeconometricians

  • 研討會日期 : 2021-12-03
  • 時間 : 14:30
  • 主講人 : Professor Chung-Tang Cheng (鄭仲棠)
  • 主持人 : Professor Tzu-Ting Yang
  • 地點 : Conference Room B110
  • 演講者簡介 : Professor Cheng received his Ph.D. in Economic History from London School of Economics. He is currently an Assistant Professor at National Taipei University. His research fields are History of Economic Thought, Economic History, Microeconometrics, Methodology of Economics, Social Network Analysis.
  • 演講摘要 : This paper argues that the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculators (EDSAC) at the University of Cambridge plays a pivotal role in the development of microeconometrics at the Department of Applied Economics (DAE). Since founded in 1946, the DAE had relied on two ways of econometric computation: human computors, who did the computing work through desk calculators, and the “regression analyzer”, an analogue machine invented by Guy Orcutt. After the EDSAC was put in operation in 1949, a new group of econometricians, including Sigbert Prais, Hendrick Houthakker, Michael Farrell, and Alan Brown, became the very first group of programmers of the EDSAC. With the new budget materials, the group produced one of the first series of collective contributions to microeconometrics in the 1950s. The Cambridge experience is a successful example of econometric collaborations in the early years of computer-based calculation. Since then, econometric practices had turned into a new division of labour that focuses more on teamwork and programming expertise. The emergence of the EDSAC not only brings massive computing power to the DAE, but also signals the turning point that econometric knowledge can hardly be produced individually.