2. ATHENA Programming for a Ground Guidance System - by Bob Russell
For any of you who are not familiar with a Ground Guidance System
type of missile launches, it is exactly as it implies. The launches
were guided into a trajectory or orbit by a ground based computer. The
United States Air Force contracted Univac to design and then to later
build such a computer, called the Athena. The original purpose was for
it to be used as the main guidance computer for the Titan defense system
which was to be installed in various parts of the continental United
States back in the 1950’s as our first line of defense.
To say the least, the Athena was complex and cumbersome piece
of hardware to write software for. It consisted of a rotating drum on
which the software was stored. Input of the software was accomplished
by loading the software from a paper tape (Mylar). The drum consisted
of 4096 computer words of memory which were divided into four sectors.
The rotating drum had to be taken into consideration when operating
the sequence of instructions which were located on the drum. The next
instruction had to be at least one location ahead of the preceding one,
except for the multiply and divide instructions which took considerably
longer. Also, one had to consider the jump to another sector of the
drum to pick up the next instruction.
Now, if any of you can understand what I’ve just told you,
you are to be commended. In order to prepare programs for the Athena,
everything had to be programmed on a general purpose computer called
the 1103 and later the 1103A. These were located in old Plant #2. Needless
to say, a large amount of software was required to support this effort.
A simulation of the Athena computer had to be developed to operate on
the 1103, along with simulated missile launch. Much additional software
was developed to assist the programmers in this effort.
During the initial phases of the Athena programming, the problems and
concerns of the drum were disregarded in favor of getting the equations
and logic resolved through what we call program debugging. After considerable
checkout and debugging, the Athena program was then subjected to what
we called “spacing” the program on the Athena drum for its
ultimate use in guiding a missile.
Place yourself in the shoes of a programmer in those days. Our
input was paper tape, our output had to typed on a flex-o-writer which
produced hard copy to assist the programmer in his software development.
And then one day miracle happened, the 1103 computer center obtained
a “high” speed printer. Now, don’t get the idea this
was like today’s high speed printers. This thing sounded like
a washing machine and printed about one line a second. But, boy, did
this have it over the old flex-o-writer which took many minutes to produce
Another one of our duties was to produce what we called a “simulation
tape” which was a Mylar tape containing all the commands and data
from a simulated missile launch. This tape was produced on the 1103
and when wound up measured approximately 6-8 inches in diameter. Now,
I don’t know if any of you have ever tried to pick up a roll of
Mylar tape of this size, but it is a challenge. It is slippery and it
is heavy. If you are not careful, the center of the roll will want to
obey gravity, and will commence to spiral downward like a tornado. Woe
be to the one who had to rewind this mess.
The simulation tapes were transported to places such
as Cape Canaveral and the tape would be placed on the Athena and run
like an actual launch and all the data on the simulation tape was then
compared to that generated by the Athena to assure accuracy. Do you
understand all this?
Many of the events I had previously reported occurred during
much of this development. Computer time on the old 1103 was shared by
several projects, thus demanding 24 hour computer time assignments.
Many the times we would draw late night blocks of computer time. Much
of this time was utilized for debugging of various support programs.
Often, when program corrections needed to be established, it meant getting
back in during the next day to prepare for the next nights run. Any
of you remember when they had the check-ins at the guard desk for being
late after 8:00 AM. How many of us wanted to tell these guys where they
could put it.
Lots of hours, but lots of fun. A lot of stress, when you think
back about it. It seemed like a lot of this stress was relieved by the
parties we had, picnics, and our company sponsored bowling. I’m
sure that many of you remember the travel to the “Cape”,
Vandenberg AFB, Bell Labs and many others. Such were the early days
3.0 MAPPER Articles
3.1 MAPPER Development
A Mission Critical Legacy by Gerry Del Fiacco - Unisys Corporation
Software Engineering Manager
It is said colloquially that necessity is the mother of invention.
In 1968, the Unisys software product known as MAPPER was conceived and
borne to serve a need that persists and thrives to the present day.
Before describing that need, it is appropriate to appreciate the context
in which this software product emerged thirty-five years ago. In that
era, the essence of the computer systems business was the engineering,
building, shipping, installing and supporting of computer hardware.
Vendor-provided software was viewed as a necessary burden to sustain
that business. Business consulting, services, training and the like
were not much more than an afterthought. And, the hard-core engineering
community that drove the business of the computer industry in that age
had little tolerance or use for euphemisms such as information technology,
enterprise assets and business transformation.
My own experience with these phenomena began when I entered the computer
industry in 1965 after matriculating in the comfortable environs of
graduate school at the University of Minnesota. My first job in industry
was with Control Data Corporation working on a project headed by the
legendary Seymour Cray. He had a team of hardware engineers sequestered
in an engineering lab on his own property in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
At that lab, he was fashioning what was at that time the largest computer
system ever envisioned thus far in the early years of the computer industry.
That engineering lab was located far away from the influence
of corporate headquarters in Bloomington, Minnesota. There was exactly
one telephone in the Chippewa Falls facility. It was a red telephone
mounted on the wall of the entryway of the lab, and it was to be used
only for emergency purposes. My software colleagues and I were more
or less viewed as intruders. We soon discovered that Seymour and his
engineers had written a basic operating system for his large-scale computer
system entirely in octal, that is, numeric machine language. Our first
job was to disassemble the octal code for that operating system into
symbolic assembler code. The resulting operating system became known
as the Chippewa operating system. Seymour also had disaffection for
other forms of software. It took months of high-level argument within
Control Data Corporation to convince Seymour that a FORTRAN complier
would be needed to make it feasible for the corporation to market his
new computer system. That system was intended to be sold as a scientific
number crunching machine. One would think that a FORTRAN compiler would
have been an obvious requirement. But, such was the undistinguished
fate of software in that era.
My awareness of Sperry Univac computer technology began in 1968
at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of the California Institute of
Technology as a customer of Sperry Univac computer systems. At JPL,
we helped NASA put spacecraft and astronauts on the surface of the moon
and we returned them safely to earth with the aid of IBM and Sperry
Univac computers using what now would be viewed as primitive software.
During a launch and mission, we would gather in the mission control
center at all hours of the day and night and we would pray that a bug
in our software or a breakdown in our hardware would not cause the loss
of life or the failure of the mission. Hence was born the term mission-critical.
Meanwhile, a mission-critical need of another nature existed
in 1968 at the engineering center and factory where Sperry Univac was
building its computer systems in Roseville, Minnesota. A complex of
four buildings spread over several acres of land and populated by thousands
of employees on three work shifts was required to house activities that
encompassed engineering, procurement, storage of parts, assembly, diagnostics,
testing, certification, packaging, order entry, inventory management,
shipping and receiving, accounts payable and receivable, customer support,
etc. Hardware technology was characterized by discrete components, an
infinite amount of wire, the lack of any subassemblies from outside
vendors, and the construction of massive hardware units. The primary
mass storage device was a flying head drum that resembled a coffin in
size and weight. Forklifts, oscilloscopes and slide rules were popular
tools. PC’s were unknown even in concept. Pencil and paper means
of planning and record keeping were routinely used. Filing cabinets
were precious resources. As the business grew and prospered, the rudimentary
methods of running the business that were being used became unmanageable.
In fact, this became the limiting factor on what could be accomplished
in terms of business volume, revenue, net income and customer satisfaction.
It wasn’t printed circuit layout, or power supply design, or robots
or any other aspect of sophisticated engineering or manufacturing technology
that was the major stumbling block in business growth and success. It
was the lack of an electronic means for planning, tracking and execution
of the technical, administrative and operational regimen for running
From this milieu emerged the need for the software tooling that became
known as MAPPER. Its first important characteristic was that it was
conceived, designed, built and deployed by the end users who needed
it. And, it was constructed in a way that it did not require an application
software development organization to reside between the end users and
the problems those end users were trying to solve in their workplace.
This resulted in a rapid application development personality for MAPPER
that meets the needs of end users and that persists to this day as a
defining characteristic of the product.
Concurrently, there was a nice operating system taking shape
on the Series 1100 computer systems that Sperry Univac was building
in its factory in Roseville, Minnesota. Its name was EXEC8. I’m
proud to say that I was one of many members of the extended software
development team that created and nurtured the operating system known
today as OS2200. But, a demanding and varied workload of batch jobs
and online time-sharing terminals could bring EXEC8 crashing down easily
in its early years. Even well into the 1970’s, we had a saying
that the mean-time-between-failure (MTBF) of the operating system was
measured in minutes and that we would consider it an accomplishment
when that MTBF could be measured in some integral number of hours.
Accordingly, the team of factory software developers that conceived
of MAPPER committed to building it in somewhat of a self-contained and
self-reliant software environment that depended to a lesser extent on
the features and capabilities of EXEC8. This was done to ensure the
viability, reliability, responsiveness, data integrity, and trustworthiness
of the software environment with which the factory would be run. This
was a mission-critical venture. Ultimately, a multi-billion dollar business
enterprise and the demands and expectations of the Series 1100/2200
customer base came to depend on MAPPER exhibiting these industrial strength
This approach required Series 1100/2200 MAPPER to incorporate
a rather comprehensive range of functionality, including many of the
batch processing, online processing, networking, security, printing,
database management, recovery, administration and operations capabilities
normally considered to be within the domain of the operating system.
Some argued against doing this as being too costly or ambitious. Others
said the cost of failure outweighed the cost of developing MAPPER in
this manner. The latter view prevailed. They soon were proved to be
A few years after MAPPER was deployed internally, a Sperry Univac
customer observed MAPPER in operation during a tour of the Roseville
engineering and manufacturing plant. The customer demanded that MAPPER
be available on the Series 1100 system they were intending to purchase.
The rest, as they say, was history. By the late 1970’s, MAPPER
was a driving force in the sale of Series 1100/60/70 systems. Even today,
OS2200 MAPPER is deployed usefully at half of the 2200/Clear Path/IX
accounts in the worldwide Unisys customer base.
The self-reliant nature of the design of Series 1100/2200 MAPPER
afforded its developers great latitude in innovation because their advances
did not have to be negotiated and coordinated with disparate software
architecture, design and development organizations outside the MAPPER
domain. Because of this latitude, MAPPER pioneered many advanced concepts.
MAPPER invented client/server programming before the industry defined
it. MAPPER was one of the first software products from Unisys to achieve
X/Open certification. MAPPER stored, rendered and displayed digital
images on graphical displays before Bill Gates invented Windows. MAPPER
rendered data in dynamic, computable spreadsheet form before Lotus and
EXCEL existed. MAPPER was Heterogeneous-Multi-Processing (HMP) enabled
years before Unisys coined the term and baptized its ClearPath platforms
with this name.
Building upon this strong history, much modernization has been
done in recent years, most visibly on the surface in terms of renaming
MAPPER as the Unisys Business Information Server (BIS) and of adapting
to a Microsoft Windows conforming environment for BIS administrators
and end users and for programmed implementation of BIS runs on Windows
3.2 The MAPPER System Story from Lou Schlueter
MAPPER software has a unique and unexcelled history.
Its user-driven Report Processing concepts were originally defined over
30 years ago. Report Processing allows users to analyze report data
using the extensive, interactive MAPPER Information Power Tool set.
This processing is far more productive than simple document processing.
MAPPER software has been annually enhanced functionally to its current
level of over 110 user-executable Report Processing functions with over
700 options and a powerful application development environment. No other
software offers such a powerful set of capability integrated with a
real-time, report structured database with full networking and internet
MAPPER software has been upgraded to run on state-of-the-art
Unisys mainframe systems, Microsoft Windows and Windows NT systems as
well as UNIX, SUN, ATT, IBM RISC and OS/2 systems. Interfaces are available
to industry relational database systems such as ORACLE and INFORMIX.
MAPPER applications have also been Internet Web enabled with its Cool
MAPPER software was the key factor in creating an installed base
worth over $2 billion for Sperry/Unisys corporations. The history of
this software and the philosophy that enabled its unprecedented success
is documented in the "VIRTUAL REPORT PROCESSING, The MAPPER Story".
REAL-TIME REPORT PROCESSING & USER-DESIGNED COMPUTING
The concepts of Real-Time Report Processing and User-Designed
Computing that MAPPER systems have provided still represent a new way
of using computers with essentially unlimited potential. These concepts
clearly have enormous end-user appeal as illustrated by the Sperry/Unisys
internal and customer experiences.
The ability to share real time reporting data and to be able to interactively
turn this data into control information using the programmer-less Information
Power Tools has a universal appeal. No comparable, user executable functionality
is offered by any other industry software systems.
The enormous success of MAPPER systems was achieved with minimal
promotion by Sperry and non existent promotion by Unisys. It still generates
over $20,000,000 in software revenue primarily from the 1100 mainframe
customer base. Under pressure from the remaining customer base, MAPPER
software is still supported and is being functionally enhanced. Most
of the expansion of the existing MAPPER Systems market was created through
word-of-mouth promotion. The users said, " There are two kinds of people
in the world, those that love MAPPER and those that don’t know
enough about it."
3.3 MAPPER User's Group
Dear current and former MAPPER-ites:
At the UNITE 2008 conference last week in Orlando, FL,
we had a "MAPPER Museum" on the exhibition floor to celebrate the 40th
anniversary of its conception - a chance to get out the old MAPPER artifacts
that I've been saving for so long and put them on display. It was fun
for all us old-timers who were fortunate to be there, to see that stuff
again, and recall stories of the long and twisted history of MAPPER.
George Rutherford from Unisys was kind enough
to share pictures he took - just click on his link below to access them.
The museum pictures are under the Memorabilia folder. The UNITE 2008
pictures I took are on my web site (www.mothermapper.com/UNITE_2008).
Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane! John Thalhuber
3.4 MAPPER Code Cards, etc.
Early Memories of an Old Programmer by John M. Byrne 25 May 2006
After graduating from a major Jesuit university in the Midwest
in 1964, with a degree in math and physics, I took a job with the Air
Force’s navigational chart making organization. There I was first
introduced to using “computers.” This was mostly just the
manipulation of punch cards for record keeping and some coordinate transformations.
This appealed to me and in 1966 I applied for and was accepted as a “computer
programmer” at Sperry Univac. (Note that I did not have a computer
science degree and, in fact, my alma mater had no computer science department.
We had however heard that a math teacher was fooling around with a “computing
device” in his spare time.) Nevertheless, not even knowing what
a binary, octal, or hexadecimal number was (I’m embarrassed to
say), my programming career was launched.
As we were under the gun (defense department pun), within six
months the new hires (and there were many) and I were turning out programs
for the Univac 1206. The 1206 was either the first or one of the first
shipboard ruggedized computers to be deployed in the U.S. Navy’s
fleet. We were producing prototype software for the DLG-16 destroyer,
which was to be later turned over to FCDSSAlant for operational deployment.
These command and control programs were to provide a very specific service
to the fleet – that is to take in sensor data, refine it and display
it to an operator, and bring weapons to bear on hostile contacts.
These were some pretty basic computers. We did have a high level
of language to program in (CS-1), but because the computers were so
slow (6 mils to just load a register) and we were required to process
radar data and weapon assignments in real-time, more often than not
we were required to drop to machine language to get the speed. Assembly
level language can be tricky and error prone. Corrections made on-line
needed to be keyed in, in binary, on the machine. On-line corrections
were made because program recompilation was a tedious and time-consuming
business. Not the method of today’s modern computers.
Check out of the software (debugging) was a problem. Actual shipboard
radars and weapons were not just lying around waiting to be used. Equipment
labs at Mare Island Naval Base were set up this purpose. However, scheduling
time to use actual radars and launchers was at a premium at the base.
Getting controlled aircraft flights within the radar’s coverage
was even tougher. To help with this problem, a technique was used which
is common place today, but new in the early 60s – simulation.
Computers were programmed to respond as would the actual radar, missile,
gun, …etc. This simulation allowed the prototype operational programs
to be checked out in a lab environment at a fraction of the cost of
using live equipment. Later, these simulations were provided to the
Navy labs for maintaining the software after deployment. Not bad for
a bunch of kids who didn’t know what a computer was a few years
When actual equipment had to be used, time was scheduled at Mare
Island. As schedules were tight, the lab was scheduled 24-7. Typical
rotation was three weeks at Mare Island; three weeks back at home to
get ready for the next trip. It was tough on the employees and their
families but I remember few complaints. It had to be done, so it was.
Sperry was turning out the most reliable equipment in the industry.
Being the best didn’t mean there were no problems. These were
some of the first computers ever built. There were problems. Hardware
field engineers were always at the ready, but finger pointing was always
an issue between the software types (programmers) and the hardware types
(field engineers.) Introduce all of the other systems aboard the ship
that interfaced with these early computers and you start to get a picture
of how severe the finger pointing could get. This extended to other
companies who were providing equipment, including the radar, launcher,
missile, gun, and displays. The U.S. Navy (NAVSEA, NAVORD) oversaw all
of this. Meetings in Washington, DC, were often and heated.
To say the earlier days of the first computers being brought
into use by the U.S. Navy were easy because the computers were so simple
would indicate that one didn’t understand the problem. Reality
is that in spite of all of the problems and complexities everyone knew
that he had to get the job done or answer to a lot of U.S. Navy commanders,
captains, and admirals. The bottom line was that no one wanted to be
the person, group, or company that held up deployment of a U.S. Navy
ship or aircraft. Remember that this was at the height of the cold war.
The departments at Sperry Univac all took this to heart. More often
than not, it was not corporate management making these trips to DC,
but the engineers. Engineers were writing the specifications, proposing
the job, performing the job, and making and supporting the deliveries.
Engineers and naval officers were definitely on a first name basis.
Seeing the spin that is put on today’s problems between government
organizations and the public (e.g. FEMA and Katrina, classified information
leaks, oil for food abuses, etc.) I can’t help but believe that
our relationship with the U.S. Navy in the 60s and 70s was not too bad.
Actually it was damn good although at the time it didn’t seem
like it was. The Navy was feeling its way through the difficulties of
implementing this new technology also. Add to that the rate at which
these emerging technologies were changing and I’d say we (Sperry,
the Navy, competitors, sub-contractors,...everyone) did some pretty
good work back then.
I am proud to have been a part of the early days when computers
were first put on Navy ships. I’m sure all of the guys I worked
with back then have similar stories to tell and are just as proud of
their contributions as they should be.
6.0 Computer Aided Design
In response to a 2007 request from the Legacy Committee, Earl Vraa
put together a summary of our company's
history of Computer Aided Design. He had inputs from many other
individuals who were developers of Automated Design systems software.
He references three previous topical papers as supplemental sources:
We've posted these three papers as 'Article for the Month'.
This CAD history isn't a complete story yet - there are some 'holes'
as memories of the developers have waned. We welcome readers comments
and inputs for a follow-up paper. One supplement story already here
are the experiences of Michael Pluimer - section 7.0 below. [LABenson]
7.0 Simulation Software Development by
I worked for Sperry 1969-79, 1982-88 and Unisys 1989-92 as a Senior
I was the Design Methodology Manager on the Micro-1100 Project which
was perhaps the most radical and innovative of Sperry's mainframe programs.
It was a large risk and leap into the unknown. The program was moved
to an offsite office building in Eagan to isolate it from every day
company operations. Many of the people mentioned in the article were
recruited to work on that project as circuit designers, including Mr.
There were a lot of people involved in developing these tools and methodologies,
including myself. The entire project is also documented on a Sperry
produced video celebrating the product that was named Swift. It culminates
with a recognition of ENIAC's 50th anniversary. J. Eckert gave a speech
and commented on what the Micro-1100 project meant to him.
After the Unisys merger, the software, tools and methodology were
transferred to a group in Philadelphia where several more mainframe
chip sets were developed.
It just seemed a bit trite to attach the tools and innovation to
a single person. More than likely, just a simple misunderstanding. What
Mr. Breid did was quite an accomplishment for the program listed - but
make no mistake, the bulk of the Hardware Design Language (HDL) innovations
had occurred much earlier.
I think we have to be careful with CAD, tools, software and methodology.
The Ulysses HDL wasn't the first HDL in Sperry, not by a long shot.
There were HDLs around when I joined the company in the late 60s. Compound
that by the fact that Sperry was diverse - each division had a CAD department
which had success with this project or that project.
When I was hired to help start the Micro-1100 project in 1982, one of
the first tasks was to assess tools and methodology across the corporation.
There were mature systems and HDLs in Defense, Blue Bell, Salt Lake
City, Roseville, etc. As you may know, it is quite difficult to make
such assessments in the face of local bias, political or personal aspects.
We concluded that none of the "in-house" approaches would be adequate
to meet the scope and scale of the MIcro-1100. There were arguments,
some very loud, and perhaps to this day they may continue.
We faced a similar task after the Burroughs buyout of Sperry to form
Unisys. Senior management wanted "tool merger" - decide on the "best"
tools to eliminate territorial CAD systems. This was even more difficult
- methodologies, HDLs, languages, etc. were as diverse as the design
teams that used them.
Over the years, I have made an analogy of CAD discussions to the
old beer commercials where people would endlessly argue "tastes great!!!
" vs. "less filling!!! " ..I have a personal philosophy about such things,
but that isn't important here.
What is important is the following ..
- Ulysses was developed for the Micro-1100 Project. It was unique
by many standards and provided several "new" capabilities not found
in other HDLs at the time. It's scope was broad and deep.
- Ulysses proved to have advantages in developing large scale
systems, particularly in the capability to run system verification
software and multi-processor systems.
- It wasn't the first HDL in Sperry - it was merely "one along
the way" for a particular task - VLSI / 1100 design.
- It was further deployed (and developed) in Blue Bell for several
- Duane Breid developed/wrote a personal version of Ulysses and
subsequently used this version in a 16 bit processor design within
Defense Systems. This too was successful.
- Sperry had in-house HDLs and HDL methodologies in most every
division, since the late 60s
- Ulysses was developed for VLSI projects such as "1100 on a chip"
- Ulysses extended the scope and scale of HDLs
- Ulysses and it's methodology were developed by Dr. Hendry, M.
Bulgerin and others in Micro-1100
- Mr. Breid developed his own version of Ulysses for Defense Systems
Cheers, Michael Pluimer
8.0 Navy Compiler history by Clyde Allen
In September, 1957, I joined Remington Rand Univac and was assigned
to the NTDS department under Seymour Cray. Univac was under contract
to build a transistorized computer for the U. S. Navy.
As the USQ-17 was being invented using preliminary prototypes named
Magstec and Transtec, it became obvious that programming these computers
was to become a major challenge. A group was put together in Dr. George
Chapin’s NTDS department and named this group Advanced Programming.
It was headed by Mark Koschman and included persons like Larry Krak,
Phyllis O’Toole, Dick VanderSteeg, Bob Thurston, Walt Haberstroh
among others. The task was to automate the programming effort. To that
point, computer code was hand entered in binary directly into the hardware
One of the first labor saving efforts was to develop a program that
interpreted punched paper tape prepared on a flexowriter and loaded
the computer. A great time saver, except if one made an error in preparing
the tape, there was no correcting it—one started over.
Working with the people in the Navy’s NTDS department, such
as Joe Stoutenburg, Eric Svenson. Capt. Ed Svendson, Capt. Parker Folsom,
Don Ream, Paul Hoskins and many others, the first automated assembler
of mnemonic code and virtual addressing was developed. This was the
beginning and named Assembly System-1 (AS-1). From there Compiling System
1 (CS-1) was specified and became the Navy’s programming language
supporting its proprietary computer architectures. There were many iterations
of this system through the years as features were added to make the
compiling process more efficient as well as to account for the technology
changes in the hardware. Some of the names assumed were CS-2, CMS-1,
CMS-2 and all supported the computers such as USQ-17, USQ-20, UYK-7
Adoption of CS-1 as the Navy’s standard language was not without
controversy. Dr. Grace Hopper also a Univac employee and Naval reserve
officer was inventing and promoting COBOL as the answer to the world’s
programming problems. This language was quickly proven to be best suited
to business applications and not considered for real time applications.
Also an international community was adopting an algebraic language (ALGOL)
for scientific applications. The Naval Electronics laboratory under
Dr. Maury Halstad in San Diego promoted a dialect of ALGOL called Naval
Electronics Laboratory IAC (NELIAC). Many heated debates were staged
by NEL experts and Univac experts helping the Navy decide on which was
better—NELIAC or CS-1. These discussions were political as well
as technical in that both developers and their sponsors in the Navy
had investment in the decision. CS-1 was declared the Navy’ standard
and enjoyed remarkable stability and usage while the proprietary computer
architecture was employed.
At the same time as the Navy was surging ahead with its programming
automation, the Air Force was also moving out. At the System Development
Corporation’s laboratory, a brilliant young engineer by the name
of Jules Schwartz was adopting ALGOL into a standard for the Air Force.
This language was named JOVIAL (Jules Own Version Of the International
Algebraic Language). While some discussion in the Pentagon was held
as to why two languages were needed, no action occurred to change the
rush to program operational systems as fast as possible.
Univac and its succeeding company profiles can be extremely proud
of the computer systems and software developed and employed in the NAVY.
From those primitive beginnings in the late fifty’s through today,
these systems have served the USA well by providing the tools necessary
to protect our country’s shores.
The Bit Savers web site has preserved some documentation of these
support software tools, Keith Myhre has scanned some reference cards
9. Early 1103 software
From: George Gray To: Smith, Ronald Q Subject: Early Software for
MIT's (the world's?) first Operating System (1954) -
John Frankovich and Frank Helwig wrote, for Digital Flight Test Instrumentation
project (DFTI) and general Whirlwind use, the Director Tape program,
to use the Control-room Flexo-writer's mechanical tape-reader in parallel
operation with the new fast photoelectric tape reader (PETR, installed
Fall 1952) to read DFTI's huge, spliced-together paper tapes, with emulated
manual switch-settings, post-mortem tests, etc. interspersed and automatically
controlling the computer -- operator-free.
John Ward, Project Engineer, and Doug Ross Lead Programmer, used
digital instrumentation hardware and Whirlwind computing to evaluate
the effectiveness of the tail turret for the B-58 Hustler supersonic
bomber, but mounted on B-47s with F-86 fighter nose strobe target --
on serial #3 ERA 1103 36-bit word computer at Eglin Air Force Base,
Florida. $10,000/hour flight-test costs! Frankovich and Helwig also
wrote a symbolic assembler, based on Digital Computer Lab's Summer Session
software, generating 1103 tapes, which then were flown to Florida for
debugging and use. Ross wrote 'Save the Baby' interruptive checker and
patch assembler on the 1103, for quick fixes on site. ERA had no software;
Flexowriter and plug-coded relay box punched 7-bit machine-code tape
for input. Servo Lab's shop built elegantly simple manual winders and
roller-lined, high-sided, deep-pocket tape holders for use with 200
cps. photoelectric tape readers, both places.
(Contrary to Computer Museum mockup of Whirlwind's Control Room,
the on-line Flexowriter keyboard never was used for input! Only the
10-cps printer and tape-reader and tape-punch were live -- as was Operator
Joe Thompson, manikin-rendered in the exhibit.)
A Personal View of The Personal Work Station: Some Firsts in the
Fifties Invited paper for the ACM History of Personal Workstations Conference,
January 1986. In A History of Personal Workstations, A. Goldberg, Ed.
m New York: ACM Press/Addison-Wesley, 1988, pp 51-114.
Reported By: Doug Ross