Comrie was the first to use the new 'punched card' equipment to scientific use. Punched cards had been developed to control industrial machines like looms. Comrie realised they could be use to compute astronomical tables, which require millions of calculations. His new techniques allowed these to be done automatically, at a rate of 20 or 30 per second.
Comrie collaborated with peers in the USA and after WW2 was influential in ensuring that computing was applied to science and mathematics.