51

DOS/360 (As distinct from TOS/360, the tape OS) Announced at the end of 1964 per Wikipedia.


24

If you watch enough YouTube videos of repairing old micros — and even ones that aren't that old (486s didn't come out that long ago, did they?) — you'll see a lot that have suffered some sort of damage due to storage over the years. Some damage, such as corrosion due to battery leakage or cracked circuit boards, is not due to climate. However ...


19

Without detailed documentation on the PDP-8 design process, we cannot say for sure. I suspect that while they may have briefly considered it, it was never a serious prospect. The PDP-8 is just the PDP-5 redesigned electronically. The PDP-5 was introduced in 1963 as an even-more-reduced version of a computer compared to the PDP-1 and PDP-4. The PDP-1/4 did ...


15

There are nearly endless benchmarks (see a short list of relevance at Benchmark Programs and Reports on the Top500 site) and it may need a bit of work to understand each benchmark's implications (see Benchmark Tutorial, in IEEE Micro 1989, or An Overview of Common Benchmarks in Computer 12/1990). Benchmarking will always give only a rough estimation, so all ...


14

Not a complete answer, but a bit of information from the manual (for several Novas including the 1200): The hardware multiply-divide option for the Nova is actually a peripheral device connected to the in-out bus, although it has no flags or interrupt capability. It contains A, B and C registers, which are loaded and read by the standard IO transfer ...


14

It seems to me that a smart terminal would need a microprocessor, so I would expect them to start showing up in the early seventies, Not really, as discrete, specialized processors could do the job even before that. When did they arrive on the scene? TL;DR: Gradually between 1964 and 1971 As with every 'first' question, the answer is rather vague and ...


14

IBM i is actually the name of an operating system rather than the hardware. So, it is the successor to OS/400 rather than AS/400. The current hardware is IBM Power Systems. These can also run Aix and Linux. There was also the name iSeries between AS/400 and i. Regardless of its name, RPG has been the dominant language though it has also changed a lot. ...


13

Horizontal Microcode works exactly as you describe - one bit for each possible internal control line (Vertical Microcode saves instruction bits by encoding sets of N mutually-exclusive control lines with log(N) bits, with appropriate demultiplexers in place). In theory one could use this as the primary instruction level, but of course it would be very ...


13

Make your way to Palo Alto, California, and find the Xerox PARC facility. Do whatever it takes to get a conversation with Alan Kay. Admittedly, you don't know any Smalltalk, but neither does anybody else. Your ability to think in terms of a collection of software objects interacting with each other will impress the hell out of him. He'll get you a job ...


12

The Whetstone table may be useful. The ratio of Whetstones/s to FLOPS varies, but not too much. A whetstone test outputs a table, like Loop content Result MFLOPS MOPS Seconds N1 floating point -1.12475025653839100 19.971 0.274 N2 floating point -1.12274754047393800 11.822 3.240 N3 ...


12

(Preface: The question is a bit misleading, as many of the conditions implied are not well defined. See below) First candidate: Transport Triggered Architectures Transport Triggered Architectures are not only a special case of single instruction architectures, but should this the 'no decoding' requirement quite nicely. Its only instruction is to transfer a ...


10

But in between those [Batch vs. Terminal], there was an era of 'interactivity, but not as we know it', when computers supported interactive work by teletype. Not really. To start with, these were complete different usage scenarios. Batch didn't turn into terminal use - or got replaced by it. Batch is like mass production on industrial scale. It still ...


9

I recently ended up looking into this myself, including reading the programming manuals for both machines mentioned. Some quirks of the RPC-4000 include that the last few addressable tracks of the drum have special fast-access features which change the way the data is laid out. The last track actually has fewer usable locations due to this, so it would be ...


8

As another-dave points out, your "indirect bit in the instruction" versus "indirect bit in the address" distinction can be ambiguous. When the instruction and the address operand are always contained within a single machine word at the same address, is the indirect bit part of the address or part of the instruction? I think we can clearly say that for multi-...


7

In Israel, in the early 1980s (I started work as an accountant in 1982 so I don't know how long the system had been in use prior to this date), all the kibbutzim of an area used to connect to one PDP-11 which was run from a communal computing centre. Each kibbutz had one data line. We had programs for accounting and a precursor of what was to be ERP, as well ...


7

The Pilot ACE, commercialized as the English Electric DEUCE, had an instruction set which looks pretty peculiar to modern sensibilities. It had no explicit 'opcode' field, instead just source and destination addresses (as well as 'next instruction' address and timing-related fields). The address fields surely required some decoding, but then again it's ...


7

Yes. Sort of. The KDF9 had an accumulator stack (the 'nesting store' or nest) which was mostly made of fast (1µs read, 1.5µs write) core - the top 3 elements were in fast registers, with 16 words of core underneath. Arithmetic was done on the top elements of the nest, popping off operands and pushing the result in the usual manner. Though the top cells were ...


7

I'm going to say no. The PDP-8 was chiefly designed for compatibility with the PDP-5, and this machine also had no hardware stack. There is not enough room in the instruction space to add push and pop instructions either.


6

Most PDP-series machines of this era were built using a large number of cards (with soldered components) connected by a wire-wrap backplane and a series of cables. I think the cables were mostly used to interface major components together, such as the CPU to the RAM, storage drives, terminal multiplexers, etc. The cards were considered standard components ...


6

I'm curious how common the style of "indirect addressing via the address value" instruction was at the time? To avoid a list answer and as an absolute answer isn't possible anyway, let's say "quite". Notable examples in addition to the mentioned HP2100 are IBM's 1620 of 1959 or DG's NOVA of 1969. All of them are based on the idea that word size is larger ...


6

Arguably the prototypical smart terminal was the IBM 3270. According to this link IBM History the 3270 was first demonstrated on May 23, 1971. While the Intel 4004 was shipping already at that time, the 3270 didn't use it - and the 4004 really wasn't powerful enough to run a terminal like the 3270.


5

Is there something about the technology with which the older minicomputers were built, that makes them more susceptible to moisture damage? No, it's about any human made - in fact even any pysical item at all. I've been working with personal computers of various kinds for going on four decades, and I have never seen hardware rendered inoperable just by ...


5

For a relatively late example which you could run today under an emulator, I would suggest dBase II, a database program for 8-bit microcomputers. As the Wikipedia article goes into, it was based on an earlier program for mainframe computers. The CP/M version worked with dumb terminals, and I bet at least some early users had printing terminals. This ...


5

tl;dr - I see the world divided into 'indirection indicated by dedicated field in instruction and (sometimes) in indirect words as well' versus 'indirection is a property of certain opcodes'. No 'indirection indicated by bit in address'. I think dedicated-field is more common. Introductory remarks I don't think there were many computers where indirection ...


5

A few pieces: Why does one so often hear of payroll, specifically, being an early application of such systems? It seems to me this is partly because the payroll of a big company involved a lot of repetitive calculation, but also because it's particularly amenable to that sort of processing: multiply hours worked by hourly wage, output pay due that worker ...


4

I've used both 5250 and 3270 terminals and the main differences were the twinax cabling and a little local smarts that allowed the 5250 to download a screen format form that could perform some data validations in the terminal


4

This is not so much quantitative data as qualitative annecdote. Many years ago, I interfaced an NSC MM-57109 "math" chip to the Z-80 system I was building at the time. It gave me access to much better calculating abilities than I would otherwise have had access to. A professor at York University, Keith Aldridge, approached me to see if this chip could be ...


4

First, Payroll is really apt for batch processing. It runs once a week or twice a month in general, and it tends to be all done at once on "payday". So each week the operators key in the time cards, then they process them, they run and audit the reports, then they cut the checks. Big, meaty processing tasks done in bulk, vs high density transaction ...


4

Depends on the position. Honestly, you're not really qualified for a lot of the work. You don't know the languages, you don't know the operations, much of the work is routine processing and ETL, so it's not as if it's "exciting" work. In that sense, while you have a grasp of computers and their operations, you don't have any actual experience in ...


4

Depend on the country, really. For example, in the Soviet block you would be asked for credentials, not to decide if you are suitable for the job, but because they have to know your education to calculate your salary. And you would not be able to provide any. Speaking of it, even in the liberal USA you would find it difficult to persuade anyone your shiny ...


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