Questions tagged [mainframe]

for questions about retrocomputing mainframes or clusters

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4answers
453 views

IBM Mainframe APL internals?

The APL language used a unique set of characters, and additionally allowed overstriking of some characters on the terminal to form characters that were used in the language. When an APL workspace was ...
4
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2answers
392 views

Was sneakernet a job description?

'Sneakernet' is a colloquial term for moving data by walking back and forth with a removable digital medium such as a floppy disk or tape in your hand. In 'IBM's 360 and Early 370 Systems', page 533, ...
4
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2answers
268 views

What was the first vector supercomputer?

I am trying to understand the trade-offs between scalar and vector machines, the threshold of complexity/transistor count/performance at which vector machines started to make sense. As data points, ...
4
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1answer
197 views

Has a retargetable disassembler been used successfully for a word-oriented mainframe architecture?

Among many modern disassembly/reverse engineering tools, has any been used to disassemble legacy code for a word-oriented mainframe, preferably with a non-power-of-2 word length, like CDC 6600 (60 bit)...
4
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1answer
213 views

What was machine-specific about Honeywell FACT?

While COBOL was the first highly successful business-oriented programming language, several business-oriented languages were designed before it in the late fifties, including Honeywell-800 Business ...
4
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1answer
113 views

Version list for TOPS-10?

So, does anybody have a list of TOPS-10 versions? I haven't been able to find any information aside from versions 7.03, and 7.04. are these lost to time? To clarify, I'm not asking for the software, ...
4
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1answer
218 views

Besides the IBM 709 and its descendents, did any other machine have “slightly longer” registers?

This question occurred to me while I was formulating this answer about arithmetic versus logical shifts. The IBM 709, and its descendant the 7090, etc., is a 36-bit mainframe with a classical single-...
3
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2answers
163 views

Did communication between a PLATO terminal and mainframe use pushes?

I'm trying to learn more about how the PLATO system worked with respect to communications. I've read some of the specs, but coming from a web-background I'm unfamiliar with the underlying way that the ...
3
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3answers
488 views

History of advanced hardware [closed]

Like most people, I grew up in the 1980s, and bore whitness to the great 8-bit home computer revolution. From where I'm sitting, "computers" started with slow 8-bit machines just powerful enough to ...
3
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2answers
437 views

How did the NSA use vector supercomputers?

In the 80s, the NSA was a major customer of supercomputers. https://www.nsa.gov/Portals/70/documents/news-features/declassified-documents/cryptologic-quarterly/NSA_and_the_Supercomputer.pdf discusses ...
3
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1answer
378 views

Using audio tape recorders on non-personal computers?

A Soviet manual (1978) for an interactive integrated development system named ПУЛЬТ (translated as "console" or "[remote] control panel") developed for the BESM-6 mainframe contains a cryptic note: ...
3
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2answers
167 views

Could early computers use existing punch card machines?

In the early decades of the industry, computers used punch cards for data storage and transmission, partly because they were already widely used for pre-computer data processing; indeed, a major ...
3
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1answer
153 views

What was the first company to sell an IBM compatible punchcard reader?

Punchcards were the primary way to get information into computers up through the sixties. The familiar eighty column format was designed by IBM, and was a factor in the later de facto standard eighty ...
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0answers
175 views

Why was the IBM 7070 unsuccessful?

In a talk on the IBM 360 and the computers it replaced the speaker at 39:35 describes the 7070 as 'a dog', and elsewhere contrasts it unfavorably with the 1401 (which considerably exceeded ...
2
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3answers
249 views

When/where was datum and limit relocation invented?

I recently "attended" a meeting of the UK Computer Conservation Society on the subject of LEO (Lyons Electronic Office; Lyons was a bakery and cafeteria business that found itself designing ...
2
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0answers
172 views

Hitting the CMS Limits of Portable Code

I wrote this arbitrary precision arithmetic utility on BSD in my postgraduate days, then after graduating ported it to DOS using TurboC. Was proud that it would do the same thing with 16bit word ...
1
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1answer
99 views

Overstriking for APL on 3270s?

This question addressed the question of APL overstrikes on printing terminals. However, IBM also had 3270 video display terminals that supported APL, as well, and those, too, handled overstriking. How?...
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0answers
92 views

Record definitions with IBM COBOL and IMS

A common technology stack for line of business applications in the sixties and seventies was IBM COBOL with the IMS database. I'm curious about how the combination handled record definitions. COBOL ...
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0answers
194 views

Are Unisys ClearPath Libra mainframes still in use in Australia?

By use, I mean are they still actively being developed for. I know this is the case in New Zealand and USA. In particular, is ALGOL code still being written on them?

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