Archive
Computers
What’s it like to be a Boeing engineer? (Sep, 1952)

My favorite part is the caption: “Solving a dynamics problem with the Boeing Computer”. THE Boeing computer? What just the one? Do they all have to share?


What’s it like to be a Boeing engineer?

Boeing engineers enjoy many advantages — among them the finest re-search facilities in the industry. These include such advanced aids as the Boeing-designed, Boeing-built Electronic Analog Computer shown above.
This is part of the stimulating background that helps Boeing men maintain the leadership and prestige of an
Engineering Division that’s been growing steadily for 35 years.

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THE ROLE OF THE COMPUTER (Sep, 1952)

This is the third in a series of 5 articles I’ve scanned from an amazing 1952 issue of Scientific American about Automatic Control. Discussing automatic machine tools, feedback loops, and the role of computers in manufacturing and information theory, these are really astounding articles considering the time in which they were written.


THE ROLE OF THE COMPUTER

The multifarious control loops of a fully automatic factory must be gathered into one big loop. This can best be done by means of a digital computing machine

by Louis N. Ridenour

IF THE thermostat is a prime elementary example of the principle of automatic control, the computer is its most sophisticated expression. The thermostat and other simple control mechanisms, such as the automatic pilot and engine-governor, are specialized devices limited to a single function. An automatic pilot can control an airplane but would be helpless if faced with the problem of driving a car. Obviously for fully automatic control we must have mechanisms that simulate the generalized abilities of a human being, who can operate the damper on a furnace, drive a car or fly a plane, set a rheostat to control a voltage, work the throttle of an engine, and do many other things besides. The modern computer is the first machine to approach such general abilities.

Computer is really an inadequate name for these machines. They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them. The name has somewhat obscured the fact that they are capable of much greater generality. When these machines are applied to automatic control, they will permit a vast extension of the control art— an extension from the use of rather simple specialized control mechanisms, which merely assist a human operator in doing a complicated task, to over-all controllers which will supervise a whole job. They will be able to do so more rapidly, more reliably, more cheaply and with just as much ingenuity as a human operator.

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Digital Graph Plotter (Sep, 1952)

THE NEW LOGRING
Digital Graph Plotter

THE LOGRING DIGITAL GRAPH PLOTTER automatic-
ally plots one variable against another algebraically in incremental steps, in response to electrical impulses. It is ideally adapted for use as a read-out device for electronic digital computers, especially digital differential analyzers, and for use in connection with such problems as aircraft tracking and automatic data reduction.
• plots at speeds up to 20 steps per second, in incremental steps of 1/64 of an inch.
• simultaneous movement on both axes in either direction.
• can be controlled electronically or by external or remote switches or relays.
• will make several carbon copies or duplicating stencil.
• instant manual positioning of pen and drum.
• takes 12″ x 18″ paper or continuous 12″ strip.
Mechanical simplicity ..high reliability ..digital accuracy ..quick pen cartridge change..self-contained power supply.
Additional information supplied on request.
LOGISTICS RESEARCH COMPANY
141 South Pacific Avenue
Redondo Beach, California

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FEEDBACK (Sep, 1952)

This is the second in a series of 5 articles I’ve scanned from an amazing 1952 issue of Scientific American about Automatic Control. It discusses automatic machine tools, feedback loops, the role of computers in manufacturing and information theory. These are really astounding articles considering the time in which they were written.

FEEDBACK

It is the fundamental principle that underlies all self-regulating systems, not only machines but also the processes of life and the tides of human affairs

by Arnold Tustin

FOR hundreds of years a few examples of true automatic control systems have been known. A very early one was the arrangement on windmills of a device to keep their sails always facing into the wind. It consisted simply of a miniature windmill which could rotate the whole mill to face in any direction. The small mill’s sails were at right angles to the main ones, and whenever the latter faced in the wrong direction, the wind caught the small sails and rotated the mill to the correct position. With steam power came other automatic mechanisms: the engine-governor, and then the steering servo-engine on ships, which operated the rudder in correspondence with movements of the helm. These devices, and a few others such as simple voltage regulators, constituted man’s achievement in automatic control up to about 20 years ago.

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Tiny Transistors and Printed Circuits Are Important Developments in Electronics (Jun, 1952)

Tiny Transistors and Printed Circuits Are Important Developments in Electronics
TRANSISTORS, subminiature tubes and printed circuits are now being brought to the attention of the general reader, who may be amazed at their tiny size and remarkable possibilities. Most radio students and experimenters are familiar with sub-miniature tubes and the unbelievably small components used in printed circuits, especially in the manner in which they are used in hearing aids.

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ANNOUNCING A GENERAL PURPOSE DIGITAL COMPUTER (Sep, 1952)

Not too shabby for $62K in 1952, this thing operates at .12Mhz has roughly 2K of memory and each tape holds around 360K.
Plus for all you case modders, it already comes with 200 glowing tubes. Try to beat that with your little LEDs.

ANNOUNCING A GENERAL PURPOSE DIGITAL COMPUTER
to meet all your
COMPUTING NEEDS

Price $62,500
complete with tape drive and typewriter
Available 120 days*

ELECOM 110 — SPECIFICATIONS

MEMORY—magnetic drum, 512 word capacity. WORD LENGTH—30 binary digits and sign.

ARITHMETIC OPERATIONS—Addition; Subtraction; Multiplication (with round-off); multiplication (complete product); Division (with round-off); division (with remainder).

LOGICAL OPERATIONS— extraction; shift right; shift left; tally; overflow branch; conditional transfer of control (branch); halt; input and output operations.

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Remington Rand introduces the ERA 1103 general-purpose computer system (Mar, 1953)

This machine was also known as the UNIVAC 1103

ANOTHER REMINGTON RAND ELECTRONIC DEVELOPMENT
Remington Rand introduces the ERA 1103 general-purpose computer system

ADVANCED LOGICAL AND ENGINEERING FEATURES
â–  ACCOMMODATES WIDE OPTION OP DIRECT INPUT-OUTPUT DEVICES
Punched-card equipment Communications circuits Punched-paper and magnetic tapes Process-actuating mechanisms High-speed printers Graphic visual displays
â–  FLEXIBLE DATA REPRESENTATION
Alphabetic and numeric data in any code
â–  INHERENT HIGH SPEED AND LARGE CAPACITY
Coordinated electrostatic and magnetic drum storage Magnetic tape storage
â–  EFFICIENT, VERSATILE PROGRAMMING
Powerful instruction repertoire Flexible two-address logic
â–  UNEXCELLED RELIABILITY
Components of service-proved design Preventive diagnostic features Integral air conditioning
â–  LOW DATA-PROCESSING COST
For complete information about the application of the ERA 1103 to your problems, write on your business letterhead to Room 1734, 315 Fourth Ave., New York 10.

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IBM – GETTING CLOSER TO INFINITY (Sep, 1952)

It seems to me that anyone who would use the phrase “Getting Closer to Infinity” does not really understand the concept of infinity.

GETTING CLOSER TO INFINITY
Businessmen, engineers, and scientists now are solving problems in scientific and industrial data processing which, a few short years ago, would have been considered well-nigh infinite.

IBM Electronic Business Machines are making an important contribution to this progress. These machines accomplish once-overwhelming tasks with incredible speed and accuracy … freeing thousands of valuable minds for creative effort.

IBM
ELECTRONIC BUSINESS MACHINES
International Business Machines

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AUTOMATIC CONTROL (Sep, 1952)

This is the first in a series of 5 articles I’ve scanned from an amazing 1952 issue of Scientific American about Automatic Control. It discusses automatic machine tools, feedback loops, the role of computers in manufacturing and information theory. These are really astounding articles considering the time in which they were written, plus they have some great pictures (not this one so much, but the others).

I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

AUTOMATIC CONTROL

An introduction to seven articles about self-regulating machines, which represent a scientific and technological revolution that will powerfully shape the future of man

by Ernest Nagel

AUTOMATIC CONTROL is not a new thing in the world. Self-regulative mechanisms are an inherent feature of innumerable processes in nature, living and non-living. Men have long recognized the existence of such mechanisms in living forms, although, to be sure, they have often mistaken automatic regulation for the operation of some conscious design or vital force. Even the deliberate construction of self-regulating machines is no innovation: the history of such devices goes back at least several hundred years.

Nevertheless, the preacher’s weary cry that there is nothing new under the sun is at best a fragment of the truth. The general notion of automatic control may be ancient, but the formulation of its principles is a very recent achievement. And the systematic exploitation of these principles—their subtle theoretical elaboration and far-reaching practical application—must be credited to the 20th century. When human intelligence is disciplined by the analytical methods of modern science, and fortified by modern material resources and techniques, it can transform almost beyond recognition the most familiar aspects of the physical and social scene. There is surely a profound difference between a primitive recognition that some mechanisms are self-regulative while others are not, and the invention of an analytic theory which not only accounts for the gross facts but guides the construction of new types of systems.

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BOUNDARY-DISPLACEMENT MAGNETIC RECORDING DELAY LINE (Jan, 1953)

WANT IT LATER?
You can delay that signal with an
ERA BOUNDARY-DISPLACEMENT MAGNETIC RECORDING DELAY LINE

FREQUENCY RANGE—any five-octave band between 5 cps and 30,000cps, with appropriate drum speed.

DELAY—up to 1000 wavelengths of information storage per channel; 200-second delay maximum at 5 cps—proportionately less with increase in frequency.

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