Do you own Premium Bonds? Have you ever been lucky?
ERNIE 1 was the first machine to generate the winning numbers for Premium Bonds. ERNIE stands for electronic random number indicator equipment.
Before 1957, no-one knew how to create a machine that could rapidly generate random numbers for Premium Bonds. ERNIE 1 was technically ground-breaking, using an innovative hybrid of valves and transistors with printed circuit boards.
ERNIE caught the imagination of the British public. The machine was given human characteristics and the public sent ‘him’ cards and poems hoping that their Bond numbers would get picked.
This exhibition showcases ERNIE 1, and explores its development and popularity, its link to the first digital electronic computer - the code-breaking Colossus - and the role of random numbers in computing today.
Find out more about ERNIE 1, and contribute your knowledge and memories of it, on our Object Wiki.