|| Leonardo da Vinci designs a mechanical calculator.
|| Charles Babbage starts work on his Difference
|| Herman Hollerith constructed a punched-card system
to automate the U.S. census. He later sold the technology to
the company that became IBM.
||The vacuum tube is invented by American physicist
Lee De Forest.
The 1st Generation
The tube-based mainframe computers
||Dr. John V. Atanasoff and his assistant Clifford
Berry build the first electronic digital computer. Their machine,
the Atanasoff-Berry-Computer (ABC) provided the foundation for
the advances in electronic digital computers
||Konrad Zuse (recently deceased in January of 1996),
from Germany, introduced the first programmable computer designed
to solve complex engineering equations. This machine, called
the Z3, was also the first to work on the binary system instead
of the decimal system.
||Vannevar Bush's "Rockefeller Differential
Analyzer" -- a one-hundred-ton machine with 2000 vacuum
tubes and 150 motors, is dedicated at MIT. Bush's Analyzer was
an analog computer as opposed to today's digital computers. A
thermostat is a simple analog computer. It was used to calculate
ballistic trajectories during W.W.II.
||British Intelligence's Colossus built at Bletchly
Park by British mathematician Alan Turing. It was a large-scale
electronic machine. The Colossus, a special-purpose machine
developed to decode secret messages, performed the logical,
as opposed to arithmetical, operations necessary to defeat the
famous German code machine Enigma.
||Eniac (electronic numerical integrator and calculator
) was placed in operation at the Moore School. By today's standards
for electronic computers the ENIAC was a grotesque monster.
Its thirty separate units, plus power supply and forced-air
cooling, weighed over thirty tons. Its 19,000 vacuum tubes,
1,500 relays, and hundreds of thousands of resistors, capacitors,
and inductors consumed almost 200 kilowatts of electrical power.
But ENIAC was the prototype from which most other modern computers
evolved. Eniac was originally used for ballistics, but played
a roll in the development of the atomic bomb.
||Howard Aiken, in collaboration with engineers
from IBM, constructed a large automatic digital sequence-controlled
computer called the Harvard Mark I. This computer could handle
all four arithmetic operations, and had special built-in programs
for logarithms and trigonometric functions.
||John von Neumann wrote "First Draft of a
Report on the EDVAC" in which he outlined the architecture
of a stored-program computer. This report changed the direction
of computer development away from punched paper tape.
||September 9th, Grace Hopper (one of the creators
of the COBOL programming language) recorded the first actual
computer "bug" a moth stuck between the relays
and logged at 15:45 hours on the Harvard Mark II.
||On December 23, William Shockley, Walter Brattain,
and John Bardeen successfully tested this point-contact transistor,
setting off the semiconductor revolution
||Bell Labs physicists Shockley, Brattain, and Bardeen
create the first Germanium transistor.
||Remington engineers complete the Model 3, a one
of a kind concept computer.
||GE Electronics Laboratory in Syracuse wins an
order for a USAF tube computer, named OARAC.
||The first UNIVAC I mainframe computer was delivered
to the Census Bureau. Unlike the ENIAC, the UNIVAC processed
each digit serially. But its much higher design speed permitted
it to add two ten-digit numbers at a rate of almost 100,000
additions per second. Internally. It was the first mass-produced
computer. The central complex of the UNIVAC was about the size
of a one-car garage: 14 feet by 8 feet by 8.5 feet high. It
was a walk-in computer. The vacuum tubes generated an enormous
amount of heat, so a high capacity chilled water and blower
air conditioning system was required to cool the unit. The complete
system had 5200 vacuum tubes, weighed 29,000 pounds, and consumed
125 kilowatts of electrical power.
||The Remington (later SperryRand) Model 409 was
delivered to the Internal Revenue Service facility in Baltimore.
||MANIAC (mathematical analyzer, numerical integrator
and computer) built at Los Alamos by Metropolis. It was responsible
for the calculations of Mike, the first hydrogen bomb. It was
followed by MANIAC II, the IBM-built STRETCH supercomputer and
a series of commercial super computers that have made the Laboratory
the world's largest scientific computing center
||The IBM 701 Electronic Data Processing Machine
announced by IBM President Thomas J. Watson, Jr. was IBM's first
commercially available scientific computer and the first IBM
machine in which programs were stored in an internal, addressable
electronic memory. It was the first of the pioneering line of
IBM 700 series mainframe computers, including the 702, 704,
705 and 709. The computer consisted of two tape units (each
with two tape drives), a magnetic drum memory unit, a cathode-ray
tube storage unit, an L-shaped arithmetic and control unit with
an operator's panel, a card reader, a printer, a card punch
and three power units. The 701 could perform more than 16,000
addition or subtraction operations a second, read 12,500 digits
a second from tape, print 180 letters or numbers a second, and
output 400 digits a second from punched-cards.
||IBM's drum memory 650 computer, announced. It
sold for $200,000 to $400,000 and was a great success: more
than 1800 were sold or leased.. The basic IBM 650 had 2000 words
of memory and 60 words of core memory. It was the first computer
on which IBM made a meaningful profit.
||First IBM 701 delivered.
||IBM 704 announced. It was the first large-scale
commercially available computer system to employ fully automatic
floating point arithmetic commands. It was a large-scale, electronic
digital computer used for solving complex scientific, engineering
and business problems and was the first IBM machine to use FORTRAN.
The 704 and the 705 were the first commercial machines with
||IBM 705 announced. Developed primarily to handle
business data, it could multiply numbers as large as one billion
at a rate of over 400 per second. In a 1954 IBM publication,
the 705 was credited with "Forty thousand or twenty thousand
characters of high-speed magnetic core storage; Any one of the
characters in magnetic core storage can be located or transferred
in 17 millionths of a second; Any one of these characters is
||Honeywell computer business was originated from
the Datamatic Corporation, founded in Newton MA, as a joint-venture
by Raytheon and Honeywell, to produce large-scale computer systems.
Raytheon sells its 40% interest to Honeywell in 1957
The 2nd Generation
Transistor Computer Systems
||The Air Force accepts the first UNIVAC Solid State
Computer. The machine was one of the first to use solid state
components in its central processing unit. Remington Rand was
not able to market a commercial version for three years. The
UNIVAC Solid State Computer came in two versions: the Solid
State 80 handled IBM-style 80 column cards, while the Solid
State 90 was adapted for Remington Rand's 90 column cards. A
Solid State system consisted of the CPU and drum memory, card
reader, card punch, and printer. There was the option of adding
a tape controller and up to ten UNISERVO II tape drives. The
drives could read both mylar tape and the old UNIVAC metallic
tape: the mode was selected by a switch on the front of the
drive. Actually a hybrid, the CPU had twenty vacuum tubes, 700
transistors, and 3000 FERRACTOR amplifiers.
||Installation of the first Honeywell Datamatic
D-1000 to Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan.
||Introduction of Honeywell H-800 first shipped
||Delivery of first GE ERMA system. Two years later
it is renamed GE-210. It was also sold by NCR as NCR-204.
||The fully transistorized IBM 7090 computer system
delivered. The system had computing speeds up to five times
faster than those of its predecessor, the IBM 709. It was both
a scientific and business machine. It was finally withdrawn
from production in 1969
||The IBM 1401 was called the Model T of the computer
business, because it was the first mass-produced digital, all-transistorized,
business computer that could be afforded by many businesses
worldwide. The basic 1401 was about 5 feet high and 3 feet across.
It came with 4,096 characters of memory. The memory was 6-bit
(plus 1 parity bit) CORE memory, made out of little metal donuts
strung on a wire mesh at IBM factories. The 1401 had an optional
Storage Expansion Unit which expanded the core storage to an
amazing 16K. The 1401 processing unit could perform 193,300
additions of eight-digit numbers in one minute. The monthly
rental for a 1401 was $2,500 and up, depending on the configuration.
By the end of 1961, the number of 1401s installed in the United
States alone had reached 2,000 -- representing about one out
every four electronic stored-program computers installed by
all manufacturers at that time. The number of installed 1401s
peaked at more than 10,000 in the mid-1960s, and the system
was withdrawn from marketing in February 1971.
||UNIVAC announced the 1107( actually completed
in 1962) with the EXEC I operating system which occupied about
8K of the 1107's 32K of memory. It was intended to support true
multiprogramming: sharing CPU time among several batch runs.
||Introduction of Honeywell 400
||Decision to launch the GE Mosaic line, a family
of four 24-bits computers. The lower models will be announced
as GE-415, GE-425 and GE-435. They will be known as Compatible
||IBM 7040 and 7044 computer systems announced.
||Introduction of Honeywell 1800 (first shipped
||IBM's 1440 Data Processing System was a low-cost
compact electronic computer designed specifically for small
and medium-size business firms.
||IBM 7094 computer announced. With a memory reference
speed of two microseconds (millionth of a second), the 7094
could in one second perform 500,000 logical decisions, 250,000
additions or subtractions, 100,000 multiplications or 62,500
divisions. The 7094 internally performed mathematical computations
1.4 to 2.4 times faster than the IBM 7090, A typical 7094 sold
for $3,134,500. IBM provided customers with a complete package
of 7090/7094 programs, including FORTRAN and COBOL programming
languages, input-output control system and sorting, without
charge. The 7094 was withdrawn from marketing in 1969.
||Introduction of Honeywell H-200, a machine targeting
the IBM 1401, with a similar architecture and a "Liberator"
The 3rd Generation computers
Multiprocessing and operating systems make the scene
||Burroughs B5000 mainframe introduced. The system
can be considered the first of the "third generation"
of computer systems. The most remarked-upon aspects are its
use of a hardware-managed stack for calculation, and the extensive
use of descriptors for data access. It included virtual memory
-- perhaps the first commercial computer to do so -- as well
as support for multiprogramming and multiprocessing.
||CDC (Computer Data Corp.) 6600 shipped; 100 nsec
||First GE Time-sharing operation at Dartmouth College
of the DTSS Dartmouth time-sharing system on a GE-265 (GE-225
||IBM announces the 360 family of computer systems.
||The Burroughs B5500, appeared. It also had multiprogramming
and virtual memory capabilities, but was three times faster
than the B5000
||IBM ships the midrange 360 model 40 computer which
had COBOL and FORTRAN programming languages available as well
as the stock Basic Assembly Language (BAL) assembler.
||Introduction of GECOS-II, a multi-programming
operating system for the GE-600
||The Burroughs B6500, which was actually an improved
version of the B5500.
||First IBM 360/Model 91 shipped to NASA GSFC.
||First shipment of the CDC 7600 computer system.
First shipment of IBM 360 Model 85. The 360 family was intended
to have 3 operating systems:
- DOS/360 operating system for the small machines. It could
run two "real-time" sessions and one batch session.
- OS/360 operating system for the midrange and high end.
- TSS/360 operating system for Time-sharing Multi-user system
||Introduction of Honeywell model 115 in the H-200
product line. The line was renamed H-2000 after models 115/2,
1015 and 2015 introduced in January 1971, and model 2020 and
2030 in December 1972 after the GE merger. The line was eventually
merged into Series6 0 NPL through a H-200 mode (emulator) on
||Introduction of GE-655 that was better known as
H-6000 after 1970.
||Burroughs announces the 700 series. The first
B6700 computer systems were installed during 1971. It was the
first Burroughs machine with dynamic linking of programs at
runtime. The B6700 line started out with one CPU and one i/o
processor and could be expanded up to a maximum of three CPUs
and two i/o processors.
||Formal acquisition of Bull-General Electric by
Honeywell. BGE takes the name of Honeywell-Bull.
||IBM announces a family of machines with an enhanced
instruction set, called System/370. The 370s proved so popular
that there was a two-year waiting list of customers who had
ordered a systems.
||A giant dies: Announcement of the cession
of the world-wide GE computer business, except time-sharing
||US Air Force orders several Honeywell H-6000 WWMCCS
(World Wide Military Command and Control System), a $3.5M contract.
||First shipments of IBM S/370 Models 155 and 165
as well as the S/360 Model 195.
||Introduction of virtual memory on IBM S/370 Models
158 and 168.
||Amdahl 470 V/6 computer system delivered to NASA.
||The Burroughs Scientific Processor was developed,
||IBM 3033 computer system announced
||The Burroughs 900-level systems were introduced.
||The most powerful IBM computer system of its time,
the 3090 high-end processor of the IBM 308X computer series
incorporated one-million-bit memory chips, Thermal Conduction
Modules to provide the shortest average chip-to-chip communication
time of any large general purpose computer. The Model 200 (entry-level
with two central processors) and Model 400 (with four central
processors) IBM 3090 had 64 and 128 megabytes of central storage,
respectively. At the time of announcement, the purchase price
of a Model 200 was $5 million. A later six-processor IBM 3090
Model 600E, using vector processors, could perform computations
up to 14 times faster than the earlier four-processor IBM 3084.
||The ES/9000 models came out with fiber-optical
I/O channels (ESCON), and IBM began using the name System/390.
The ES/9000s exploited new technologies, such as high-speed
fiber optic channels with IBM's new ESCON architecture, ultra-dense
circuits and circuit packaging that provided higher performance,
extended supercomputing capabilities and twice the processor
memory previously available. The line spanned a 100-fold performance
range increase from the smallest (model 120) to the most powerful
(model 900 six-way multiprocessor). Basic purchase prices for
the air-cooled processors of ES/9000 ranged from approximately
$70,500 to $3.12 million. Basic purchase prices for the water-cooled
models ranged from $2.45 million to $22.8 million.
||IBM releases a new generation of S/390.
G5/G6 enterprise server family has up to 256 channels, from
2 to 8 Cryptographic Coprocessors, from 8 to 32 Gigabytes
of memory, and can run under OS/390, MVS, VM, VSE, or TPF
operating systems. It can also host an unbelievable amount
of hard drive storage.
Let's see a PC match
The 3/4 ton IBM eServer
zSeries 890, dubbed the "Baby Shark" can host
up to 32 GBytes of memory. The four PCIX Crypto Coprocessor
(and optional PCI Crypto Accelerators) on the z890 have seven
engine levels, giving a total of 28 capacity settings overall.
With it's advanced virtualization technology the 64-bit z890
can run several operating systems at the same time including
z/OS, OS/390®, z/VM®, VM/ESA®, VSE/ESA, TPF and
Linux for zSeries and Linux for S/390®.
The z890 is upgradeable within z890 family and can also upgrade
to z990 from select z890 configurations.
Configured with the new Enterprise Storage
Server Model 750 which handles from 1.1TB up to 4.6TB
of data, the x890 makes an awesome server.
||IBM produces the Blue-Gene/P, a system capable of a petaflop (1,000,000 gigaflops or 1,000 teraflops). It sports 73,728 processors comprised of four cores each of
IBM’s 850MHz PowerPC 450, resulting in 294,912 cores. The system can be scaled to nearly three times that size, resulting in a 3 petaflop capability and is all hooked up via a high-end optical network.