1979 Review of the Cray-1 Supercomputer (Jun, 1979)
Cool article and review about the Cray-1 the first really high end production supercomputer.
It cost $8 million and performed at blistering 80 MFLOP/s. For comparison, a Pentium 4 2.8ghz can hit about 2.5 GFLOP/s or about 31 times faster. The current supercomputer champ can handle 280 TFLOP/s or about 350,000 times faster.
Incredible Cray-1 cruises at 80 million operations a second
It’s 10 times faster than the biggest IBM, with six times more memory
By JIM SCHEFTER
“Step into the computer,” said my guide.
I did, and felt the chilling sensation of moving into the megabit maw of a machine so advanced in electronic intellect that it can only talk to other machines.
We CAN Control the Weather! (Jan, 1948)
Very interesting if somewhat optimistic article about weather prediction and control. Their secret weapon is a new computer with an very impressive (for the time) 20K of memory which will allow them to predict the weather and model the effects of any potential interventions.
To show just how off they were in terms of necessary processing power, check out the list of Weather Modeling machines on the the top 500 supercomputer list. The fastest has 1020 processors and 4TB of memory.
My favorite of their weather control techniques has to be creating giant oil slicks off the Florida coast and setting them on fire to deflect a hurricane.
We CAN Control the Weather!
The electronic computer makes it possible, says Dr. Zworykin, scientist.
BY WILLIAM WINTER, based on an interview with DR. VLADIMIR K. ZWORYKIN, Vice President and Technical Consultant, RCA Laboratories
WHEN Mark Twain made his famous quip that everyone talked about the weather but that no one ever did anything about it, he had no way of knowing that the science of electronics, even then in its infancy, not only would promise a revolution in forecasting but would show the way to actually control the elements.
Yes, thanks to electronics we soon will be able to predict in a few minutes the weather for several days ahead. Even more important, man may be able to prevent the development of hurricanes and other violent storms, or divert them, prevent killing frosts, eliminate local fogs, and even cause rain to fall in regions of drought. The benefits to aviation and agriculture alone would be tremendous, to say nothing of the direct savings in lives and property.
First U.S. Digital Computer (Oct, 1944)
This is a fantastic article about the IBM ASCC (Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator), or Harvard Mark I. The first large-scale automatic digital computer in the USA.
Some interesting facts about the ASCC:
- It cost $250,000 in 1944 dollars.
- It could calculate using numbers with up to 23 signifigant digits. These were set with an array of 1,440 dials (check out the picture below)
It took 3/10 second for add/subtract, 5.8 for multiplication and 14.7 seconds for division.
- It weighed 35 tons and was powered by a 2 horse-power motor. (With mhz, ghz, mb, gb, tb, dpi, ms, bps, etc don’t you think it’s time hp got back into the computer lexicon?)
- It contained 500 miles of wire
I was surprised to see a reference to the Harvard Supercomputing laboratory. I would have thought that supercomputing was a much newer term, but according to Wikipedia, it dates from 1929.
Robot Mathematician Knows All the Answers
Thirty-five tons of dials, wheels, and wires knock out problems that would take the best human expert a lifetime.
By VOLTA TORREY
SOME boy may soon work his way through Harvard University by watching a 51-foot switchboard all night in an air-conditioned basement. Behind its polished panels, electricity will be solving the longest and most difficult mathematical problems ever conceived. It will be doing everything that is known to be mathematically possible with such numbers as 12,743,287,341,045,502,372,098.
New NASA Space Telescope (Sep, 1979)
The funny thing about this ad is that “NASA Space Telescope” was the original name of the Hubble Space Telescope and Perkin-Elmer is the contractor that delivered a flawed main mirror, requiring a very expensive and difficult repair mission.
Responsive Technology from Perkin-Elmer
The NASA Space Telescope: Getting ready for the clearest look yet into space
The NASA Space Telescope, scheduled for launch by the Space Shuttle in the 1980s, will orbit the earth at an altitude of 310 miles. Unlike ground-based telescopes which are restricted to a narrow spectral window and subject to distortions by the earth’s atmosphere, the Space Telescope will provide astronomers with the clearest view yet of the universe.
THE NEW HEATHKIT PERSONAL COMPUTING SYSTEMS (Sep, 1977)
These are pretty sweet. I would love to have a kit-built paper tape reader at home.
THE NEW HEATHKIT PERSONAL COMPUTING SYSTEMS
H8: 8-bit Computer $375
H11: 16-bit Computer
H9: Video Terminal
H10: Paper Tape Reader/Punch
The new VALUE-STANDARD in personal computing systems! Play exciting and challenging computer games, exercise your imagination and ingenuity with do-it-yourself creative programming, store and retrieve personal records like taxes and budgets, solve complex mathematics and scientific problems almost instantly, control your home appliances for best energy savings and efficiency â€” literally thousands of fascinating, exciting and practical applicatons. The Heathkit computer systems are low-priced, versatile and reliable â€” they’re the ones to have for REAL power and performance!
World’s First Calculator Watch, the HP-01 (Sep, 1977)
Besides being first, this is one of the coolest calculator watches I’ve ever heard of. You could actually use the time and date as variables in your calculations and it would continuously update the values based on the stopwatch or timer.
Hewlett-Packard advances in measurement and computation
The HP-01: a new kind of “time machine” you wear on your wrist.
New tools sometimes demonstrate their full significance only after people have invented a new range of uses for them. Their existence precedes their “reason” for existence. The HP-01 may be such a tool. It results from a timely fusion of two Hewlett-Packard technologiesâ€”precision time measurement1 and computationâ€”and interrelates timekeeping with a computing element for the first time in a wrist-sized instrument.
Any resemblance between the HP-01 and a watch/ calculator stops inside the case. What makes the HP-01 a new kind of “time machine” is that it can compute time data to produce numerical perspectives in time. For example:
1977: Bally Home Library Computer – Early E-Commerce (Sep, 1977)
“This is the story of an incredible product. So incredible that we know of no future consumer product that will have such a far-reaching technological impact on society.”
This is a ridiculously over-hyped ad for the Bally Home Library Computer, a fairly interesting if somewhat unsucsessful game console/home computer system. The $10,000 IBM 5100 computer they are constantly comparing it to was actually a full-on portable workstation with a keyboard, CRT, and tape drive that was capable of emulating an IBM mainframe. I am sure, however, that the Bally had better games.
One really interesting thing is the mention of the DIAL-A-BARGAINÂ® ORDERING SYSTEM:
“Our technicians have programmed JS&A’s main computer so you can use the Bally to access our computer directly when Bally’s dual tape decks become available. With a special module and cassette, you will be able to 1) call our computer on our toll-free number, 2) place an order, and 3) find out when it will be shipped. Since you communicate directly with our computer, your order is processed immediately and can be shipped within a few hours after receipt.”
I don’t know if they ever actually deployed this system, but if they did it would be an impressively early and complete eCommerce system.
Thinking Computers? Think Small (May, 1967)
I’d love to have one of those Nixie Tube Wang 360′s (page 3) on my desk.
Thinking Computers? Think Small
They’re everywhereâ€”simple-to-operate, desk-top electronic calculating instruments
By MELVIN WHITMER
AS RECENTLY AS 15 YEARS AGO, ACCORDing to the American Federation of Information Processing Societies (AFIPS), there were fewer than 25 computers at work in all of the US. That number has grown today to well over 35,000, and the AFIPS predicts that by 1975 there will be more than 85,000â€” representing an annual investment of $30 billion.
Understandably, the greatest increaseâ€”because of their lower initial costâ€”will come in the area of compact and desk-type computers. Though physically small, many of this new generation of time-savers are capable of a wider range of computations than some of the huge multi-rack installations of a decade or so ago.