Archive
Computers
The Cybernated Generation (Apr, 1965)

The Cybernated Generation

Purring like contented kittens, the most remarkable support crew ever assembled kept unceasing vigil last week as Gemini spun through space with its two passengers. At Cape Kennedy and at the space complex in Houston, at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland and at 14 other sites from the Canary Islands to the South Indian Ocean, dozens of electronic computers guided, watched, advised and occasionally admonished the two astronauts. In fact, the Space Age’s first orbiting digital computer, a hatbox-sized model that can make 7,000 separate calculations a second; went along for the ride in Gemini. No space effort—American or Russian—had ever before made such extensive use of the computer, or depended more on it.

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“Mechanical Brain” Works Out Mathematical Engineering Problems (Jun, 1932)

“Mechanical Brain” Works Out Mathematical Engineering Problems

A DIFFERENTIAL analyzer, or “mechanical brain,” has been designed by Dr. Vannevar Bush, Dean of the School of Engineering of the Massachusetts School of Technology, which will relieve the engineer and scientist of the burden of making computations which are mechanical and repetitive.

The photo on the right shows the inventor watching his new calculating machine working out a mathematical problem. The charted curves on the input table represent part of the data of the problem in the form in which it is presented to the machine for solution.

Where a number of Computations must be made, this rapid mechanical device will save the user several minutes, and eliminate the many possibilities of errors which creep into lengthy or detailed computations which must be made by hand, with a slide rule, or with the aid of other mechanical machines.

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Doubling Univac’s Speed! (Sep, 1955)

Doubling Univac’s Speed!

The famous Univac of Remington Rand has widened even further its lead over other electronic business computing systems. Univac is still the only completely self-checked system… the only one which can read, write, and compute simultaneously without extra equipment. And now, the Univac II adds to these superior features the speed of a magnetic-core memory.

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ELECTRONIC COMPUTERS – what they are and what they do (Jun, 1958)

Let’s see, I’m publishing an article about computers, what should I use for a picture? I know! People writing on a plotter with pencils. Nothing says welcome to the computer age better than pencils!

ELECTRONIC COMPUTERS – what they are and what they do

AUTOMATION has given new importance to electronic computers. From automatic factories to magazine subscriptions, they are becoming a part of our daily life. More applications are constantly being found for computers large and small.

There are two different types of computers: the digital, which uses numbers or digits, and the analog, which uses a measure, such as voltage, current, or angle of rotation.

While large-scale digital computers have captured the headlines, both types are important. Many more analog than digital computers are now in use although both analog and digital techniques are used in some computers. There are, however, striking differences between the two types. Each has applications where it is best suited; each has good features as well as disadvantages.

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Seconds Split a Million Ways (Apr, 1948)

Seconds Split a Million Ways

Measuring the split flashes of time that are microseconds makes possible many modern miracles of science.

By Carl Dreher

IT TOOK you about one second, or 1,000,-000 microseconds, to read the title of this article. On that basis one microsecond may seem short enough to satisfy everyone, but to the modern electronics engineer it is a fairly long time. Describing a new electronic gadget, its inventor informs us that each dial division corresponds to 0.0132 microseconds; in other words, he is measuring down to a ten-thousandth of a millionth of a second.

That’s slicing it rather fine, but if it is worth a few dollars to you, you can buy a pulse generator that will deliver bursts of power adjustable down to 0.1 microsecond. You can order it from an advertisement-nothing special about it—plug it into a wall socket like an electric iron, and you’re a member of the microsecond-splitting fraternity yourself. It’s economical to operate, too—consumes only 40 watts.

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NOSE COUNT, 1960 (Apr, 1960)

I found this article incredibly interesting. It seems like the computer technology of 1960 was just barely up to the task of processing the census data. Not to mention the sheer human scale of the census operation. Check out some of the stats from the article:

On April first, 160,000 of these politically appointed door-to-door canvassers largely housewives, widows or part-time workers—will set out armed with 1,080,000 pencils, 260,000 pocket-type sharpeners, 2,850,000 scratch pads, infinite patience and considerable ingenuity

For comparison, here are articles about the 1940 and 1950 censuses (censi?).

Also here are some really nice ads for UNIVAC 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

NOSE COUNT, 1960

By Richard F. Dempewolff

THIS IS THE YEAR we count off again, take a look at ourselves to see how we’ve grown, where we’re heading and how we’re doing. Ever since 1790, when the Constitution authorized a “decennial enumeration of the population,” the Bureau of Census has had to brace itself each year ending with zero, and charge into the monumental task of inventorying American noses, one by one.

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Electric “Brain” Weighs Three Tons (Aug, 1935)

Electric “Brain” Weighs Three Tons

Computing Machine Can Run Rings Around Einstein in Solving Mathematical Kinks of the Way that the Universe Operates

THE “Brain Trust” now runs a risk in the competition of the big, complex machine shown above, which was recently built in the school of electrical engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia, by C. W. A. workers with government funds. Now, it is said, the U. S. Army wants another like it, and would ask to take this over in case of war. The explanation is that it is a machine for solving the most complicated mathematical problems, and doing this in a hurry. In fact, it can solve problems too complicated for any living mathematician to work out—with an answer not always guaranteed mathemically exact, but at least good enough for practical purposes.

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BUSINESS AUTOMATION and MILITARY ELECTRONICS (Jan, 1956)

BUSINESS AUTOMATION and MILITARY ELECTRONICS

The problem confronting many company managements today in deciding what course to follow in applying the new techniques of automation and data processing is similar to the problem faced in recent years by the leaders of our military organizations in arranging for efficient application of the same powerful tools of electronics to the art of war.

At Ramo-Wooldridge the difficult demands of major military systems responsibility have been met successfully by the placing of heavy dependence upon teams of unusually well-qualified, mature and experienced scientists, operational procedures experts, and engineers. These teams deal with the technical and non-technical portions of a project as inseparable and interrelated aspects of a single problem.

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Perfecting Tomorrow’s Turbines (Mar, 1955)

Perfecting Tomorrow’s Turbines

Many complex and intricate computations are required to evaluate test cell runs … to design turbines with ever-increasing efficiency of performance. Univac Scientific is the ideal electronic computing system for the task. It can easily accomplish these feats of mathematics — and solve the many problems encountered in data reduction, compressor off-design, turbine off-design, wheel design and analysis, and engine performance.

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THERE ARE 3,000 ‘BITS’ OF INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE (Sep, 1965)

I have never heard of this kind of memory before. It’s sort of like ram, sort of like a hard drive, and sort of like core memory. Certainly interesting.

THERE ARE 3,000 ‘BITS’ OF INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE

Dots like these are part of an amazing electronic memory that can store, in binary language, 5.8 million “bits” of information. Such a memory unit is a fundamental part of the complex new Electronic Switching System that Western Electric is building for the Bell System. The dots are precisely 35 thousandths of an inch square and one thousandth thick.

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