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If one were to attempt to examine thoroughly the electronic computer field in order to discover its origins, describe its present status and extrapolate its future trends, one would find that the development of computing systems is following a very intricate path. Computing machinery itself is undergoing very rapid and revolutionary changes. Speed, capacity, and versatility are rising. Cost per unit of useful computational out-put is diminishing. The cost of computation is due to a large number of related factors, for example increased machine speeds, increased machine storage capacity, 24-hour operation, increased reliability, and increased automatic performance of what in the past has been human labor. The trend is toward larger and more versatile systems and computing systems capable of rapidly processing every item of information. The general tendency is to reduce an entire activity to machine methods. Inventory and stock control, payroll and personnel, insurance premium and mailing, banking and accounting, reservation and stock marketing are some examples of the commercial applications of computers described in this report. In the field of scientific calculation, application of electronic computers is being made in literally every conceivable field of science. With respect to computing system size, the computer field is similar to the aircraft industry. The larger systems represent fulfillment of certain needs, however, in terms of quantity, the number of smaller and intermediate capacity machines far exceed the number of larger machines. One may sum up the general trends in computing machinery by considering separately the trends of various features. Qualitatively, among the items which are increasing one finds storage capacity per unit volume, useful output per unit time, average error free running periods, and operating ratios. Among the decreasing items one finds storage access time, arithmetic operation time, cost per unit useful output, and power, space, and weight requirements per unit rate of useful output. Research and application engineering are decreasing the gap between the known properties of material media and the actual use of these properties. This is best illustrated in such fields as ferromagnetics, ferroelectrics and semiconductors. For example, electrostatic cathode ray tube storage units are being replaced in many computers by magnetic core storage units. New models will contain core storage instead of cathode ray tube storage. A definite trend toward transistorization is detectable, resulting in reduced space, weight and power, and increased reliability and life. Thus far, general trends have been considered from a qualitative point of view. It will perhaps be more interesting to consider some of tbe quantitative aspects and characteristics of the domestic complement of electronic digital computing systems. The general outline of the systems descriptions contained in this report will be followed in presenting a quantitative analysis of the data. A. GENERAL 1. Designation of Systems There has been a tendency to write phonetic abbreviation for all of the early and one-of-a kind machines, such as ENIAC, EDVAC, ELECOM, JOHNNIAC, MIDAC, NORC, and LARC. Some names identify the type of computer, such as Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer for EDVAC. Other names identify an organization or person, such as John Von Neumann Automatic Computer for the JOHNNIAC and Michigan Digital Computer for the MIDAC. Many of the larger corporations have abbreviated the name of the company or prefixed a series of model numbers with a name associated with a particular organization, such as IBM 701 for the Interna- tional Business Machines Corporation Type 701 and the UNIVAC for the Sperry-Rand Corporation. 2. Name of Manufacturer The development of electronic computing systems in the interest of national defense, could not wait until economic laws brought about the supply of systems based on conrnercial demand for such systems. Government had to support research and development to satisfy defense requirements. The need for computing facilities of increased capacity inspired the support of research by educa- tional institutions and private industry th.rough the various contracts for study, development of prototypes and the delivery of systems that later became production line items. Due to this support, manufacturers could satisfy userst requirements, creating increased demand for systems. The original electronic digital computer, ENTAC, designed and developed by the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of the University of Pennsylvania, was delivered for operation at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1946. Many early electronic machines were manufactured at educational instituti.ons such as the Institute for Advanced Study, NIT, Harvard and the Universities of Pennsylvania and California. Parallel research was performed by industry, and by 1950, commer- cial large scale digital electronic computers were being de- livered. At the present time mass production of large scale systems is well underway. Several hundred intermediate capacity systems of certain types have been mass produced, and literally thousands are on order. Table I shows the manufacturers of all the machines covered in this report.
|MANUFACTURER|| SYSTEM ||Air Force Missile Test Center
Computer Engineering Branch,
Technical Systems Lab.
Patrick Air Force Base, Florida
| FLAC ||Argonne National Laboratory
| ORACLE (with O.R.N.L.) ||Barber-Colman Company
| BAR-COL DEC DIG ||Bendix Aviation Corp.
Bendix Computer Division
5630 Arbor Vitae Street
Los Angeles 45, Calif.
| BENDIX-D12 BENDIX-G15 ||Burroughs Corporation
Detroit 52, Michigan
| BUR-ElOl, UDEC-I, UDEC-II ||Electrodata Corp.
| DATATRON ||Electronics Corp. of America
Business Machines Division
Cambridge 42, Mass.
| MAGNEFILE-B, MAGNEFILE-D ||Ferranti Electric, Inc.
50 Rockefeller Plaza
New York 20, N. Y.
| FER MARK-I, FER MARK-Il, PEGASUS ||General Electric Co.
Syracuse, New York
| OARAC ||Haller, Raymond and Brown
State College, Pa.
| AN/UJQ-2(XA-l) ||Harvard Computation Lab.
Cambridge 38, Mass.
| ADEC ||Hogan Laboratories
155 Perry Street
New York, N. Y.
| CIRCLE ||Hughes Research and Development Labs.
Hughes Aircraft Company
Culver City, Calif.
| HUGHES AAC Mod-III ||Institute for Advanced Study
Princeton, New Jersey
| IAS ||International Business Machines Co.
590 Madison Avenue
New York 22, N. Y.
| CPC, 604, 607, 608, 650, 701, 702, 704, 705, NORC ||J. B. Rea Company, Inc.
Santa Monica, Calif.
| READIX ||Laboratory for Electronics, Inc.
75 Pitts Street
Boston 14, Mass.
| TIM-II ||Librascope Company
| LGP-30 ||Logistics Research, Inc.
P.O. Box 451
141 S. Pacific Avenue
Redondo Beach, Calif.
| ALWAC- III ||Marchant Research, Inc.
Oakland 8, Calif.
| MINIAC ||Mass. Inst. of Tech.
Digital Computer Laboratory
Cambridge 59, Mass.
| WHIRLWIND-I ||Mellon Inst. of Industrial Research
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh 15, Pa.
| MELLON INSTITUTE-DIG ||Monroe Calculating Machine Co.
Morris Plains, N. J.
| MONR0B0T-III, MONROBOT-V, MONR0B0T-VI-MU ||Moore School of Electrical Engineering
University of Pennsylvania
| EDVAC, ENIAC ||Mountain Systems, Inc.
Thornwood, N. Y.
| MODAC-404, MODAC-410, MDP-MSI-5014 ||Natl. Bureau of Standards
Data Processing Systems Div.
Washington, D. C.
| DYSEAC, SEAC, SWAC ||National Cash Register Co.
| NCR-CRC-102A, NCR-CRC-102D, NCR-505, WHITESAC(CRC-106) ||Naval Research Laboratory
Washington 25, D. C.
| NAREC ||Oak Ridge National Laboratory
Oak Ridge, Tenn.
| ORACLE (with A.N.L.) ||Olivetti Corp. of America
580 5th Avenue
New York 56, N. Y.
| OLIVETTI-GBM ||Pennsylvania State University
School of Electrical Engineering
State College, Pennsylvania
| PENNSTAC ||Radio Corporation of America
Engineering Products Division
Camden 2, New Jersey
| RCA-BIZMAC ||Rand Corporation
1700 Main Street
Santa Monica, Calif.
| JOHNNIAC ||Raytheon Manufacturing Co.
Waltbam 54, Mass.
| RAYDAC, RAYCOM ||Remington Rand Division
Sperry Rand Corp.
515 Fourth Avenue
New York 10, N. Y.
| UNIVAC, UNIVAC-Il, LOG, LARC, UNIVAC-SCIENTIFIC (ERA-ll0l),
UNIVAC-SCIENTIFIC (ERA-1102) ||Technitrol Engineering Co.
2751 North 4th Street
Philadelphia 33, Pa.
| TECHNITROL-180 ||Teleregister Corp.
445 Fairfield Avenue
| BAEQS, MAGNETRONIC RESERVISOR, TELEREGISTER SPEDDH ||Underwood Corp.
Electronic Computer Div.
Long Island City 6, New York
| ELECOM-50, 100, 120A, 125, 125FP, ORDFIAC ||University of California
Dept. of Engineering
Div. of Electrical Engineering
| CALDIC ||University of California
Los Alamos Scientific Lab.
Los Alamos, New Mexico
| MANIAC, MANIAC-II ||University of Illinois
Electronic Digital Computer Project
| ILLIAC, ORDVAC ||University of Michigan
Willow Run Research Center
Engineering Research Ins.
| MIDAC ||University of Wisconsin
College of Engineering
Madison 6, Wisconsin
| WISC ||Wang Laboratories
57 Hurley Street
Cambridge 41, Mass.
| WEDILOG |
3. - 4. Operating Agency and Application Operating agencies include almost every conceivable type of organizabion or activity. Every commodity industry, such as steel, lumber, oil, and. coal are utilizing electronic computers. Every service industry from transportation and publishing to insurance and banking are utilizing electronic computers. Govern- ment is using large scale computers in many phases of defense activities from the computation of bombing and firing tables to atomic energy investigations. Many applications include "on line" service, whereby the data obtained from a scientific test or industrial process is read by a computer which computes a result in so short an interval of time as to permit calculated cbanges in the conduct of the test or process. Some examples of this include wind tunnel testing of aerodynamic models at the Ballistic Research Laboratories and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The 1~gnetronic Reservisor of the American Air Lines yields the number of unsold seats on all flights out of New York from the moment the flight is opened until departure time even though many agents are selling tickets throughout the metropolitan area. Stock market operations at the Toronto Stock Exchange is repre- sentative of an "on line" application. However, the "off line" applications exceeds the "on line" usage at present. Hundreds of thousands of problems are run daily on computers throughout the country in such diverse fields as statistical analysis, atomic energy, weather prediction, topography, and in fact, every related field of physics, mathematics and chemistry. Much is being done on computers in the field of sociology based on census statistics and other survey data. In almost every case of human mental endeavor, the computing machine is being applied, even in an attempt to improve computing machines. 5. Photographs The photographs of the systems yield some information on size, complexity and lay-out. 6. Timing At this point, it is possible to discuss more specific trends in computing systems. Of the 69 different types of systems, 54 were reported as synchronous machines and 15 as asynchronous machines. Apparently the synchronous type of clock-pulsing technique enjoys this majority due to the simplified logical arrangements and error detection schemes. In these systems, all events in the machine occur at a specific, predeterminated instant of time, hence, every event is "scheduled". Such machines may utilize a storage system in which information is stored as a function of time in such devices as sonic delay lines of mercury or quartz. Where storage does not necessarily occur as a function of time, as in electrostatic and static magnetic storage units, the asynchronous type of operation may be used. 7. Type of Operation Of 70 computing systems, 63 were reported as being sequential, i.e., each operation is performed in sequence, one instruction carried out at a time, whereas, 5 systems, the IBM 702, MANIAC, NAREC, NOEC, and LARC were reported as concurrent systems. Apparently the trend is toward concurrent systems, that is, systems in which several operations, such as computing and writing, may proceed simultaneously, since this feature is being incorporated into the more modern machines.Go to Next