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Information Technology (IT) Pioneers

Retirees and former employees of Unisys, Lockheed Martin, and their heritage companies

Software Engineering, Chapter 48

1. Introduction

Dr. Grace Murry Hopper is/was reknown throughout the world as an early software developer, especially the tools to make it easier for those who followed her.  Hwer AutoCoding paper pointed the way.

Sperry Univac Defense Systems and Unisys Defense Systems were developers and users of MAPPER software beginning in the late 60's. Lockheed Martin continued to use MAPPER software in their operations at the plant on Pilot Knob Road in Eagan, Minnesota. Therefore it is appropriate to include MAPPER history as part of our Legacy.
   Some may recall the AS-1 assembler for the early 30-bit computers. It was loaded into the Plant 1 Military Computer Center's type 1206 from paper tape via the Friedan Flexo-writer until the 1240 magnetic tape versions were developed. In 1962 Programmers used the SLEUTH assembly system to develop 1107 software.

   Then we started working with the Compiler System (CS-1), which include 'Macro' functions for the 30-bit computers. CS-1 evolved to CMS-2 for compiling and program debugging. A summary of these Navy software generation tools is in section 7. [lab]

In late 1964 Jorgen Anderson was developing a FORTRAN compiler for 30-bit machines using the 1206 in the Plant 1 Military Computer Center. I was taking a U of MN FORTRAN class at that time, compiling programs on the CDC 1604 at the University of Minnesota. Jorgen used my 'Gassy' program to help debug the 30-bit FORTRAN software. Jorgen figured that when he got the same printout results via the 1206 computer as I'd gotten from the CDC 1604 at the U of MN; then the software was working. The 1218 and 1219 computers were initially programmed using the TRIM assembler/compilers in the early 60's. There was an 1824 computer AS-1 assembler too, I recall that Ken Van Duren was the lead programmer developing that assembler. [lab] 
In 1975 White Oak Laboratory generated a comparative desripion of sevral high level computer languages including the Navy's CMS-2 package.

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 hard copies.
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 of programming.

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 the factory.
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.

{Editor's note: Mapper stickers from Ron Shurson, Unisys retiree.}
   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 attributes.
   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 right.
   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 workstations.

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 capabilities.
   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 Ice offering.
   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".
   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.

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 earlier.
   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.

5.0 Computer Aided Design

This topic has been moved to the Engineering Chapter, section 6.0 on 3/30/2022 [LABenson]

6.0 Simulation Software Development by Michael Pluimer

I worked for Sperry 1969-79, 1982-88 and Unisys 1989-92 as a Senior Management Consultant.

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. Breid.
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 ..

  1. 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.
  2. Ulysses proved to have advantages in developing large scale systems, particularly in the capability to run system verification software and multi-processor systems.
  3. It wasn't the first HDL in Sperry - it was merely "one along the way" for a particular task - VLSI / 1100 design.
  4. It was further deployed (and developed) in Blue Bell for several more projects.
  5. 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.

Historically then,

  1. Sperry had in-house HDLs and HDL methodologies in most every division, since the late 60s
  2. Ulysses was developed for VLSI projects such as "1100 on a chip" designs
  3. Ulysses extended the scope and scale of HDLs
  4. Ulysses and it's methodology were developed by Dr. Hendry, M. Bulgerin and others in Micro-1100
  5. Mr. Breid developed his own version of Ulysses for Defense Systems chip designs.

Cheers, Michael Pluimer

7.0 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 registers.

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 and UYK-20.

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 too:

8. Early 1103 software

From: George Gray To: Smith, Ronald Q Subject: Early Software for the 1103

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.]

References: 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

In this Chapter

  1. Introduction [left]
  2. ATHENA by Bob Russell
  3. MAPPPER Stories:
  4. NTDS by John M. Byrne
  5. Computer Aided Design
  6. Simulation Development by Michael Pluimer
  7. Navy Compilers by Clyde Allen
  8. Early 1103 software by Doug Ross via George Grey

Chapter 48 edited 4/21/2022.