44

Do the holes in Jacquard loom punched cards represent input data or program code? yes. Let me tell you a story. Somebody I used to work with many years ago was flying into the USA (or it might have been Britain from the USA) with some half inch tapes containing the source code for a Cobol program. Because he was carrying the tapes separately to his luggage,...


34

TL;DR; Punch card code is not binary but a collection of n out of m encodings. Long Story Yes, really a long story, so I'll only cover the main line from Hollerith to EBCDIC. there are many sidelines for special equipment, situations and as used by different manufacturers. Some covering up to 7 holes but all mostly compatible in the basic Numeric/Alpha ...


23

Uppercase text only needs six bits per character. The fundamental mistake that you are making is assuming that punch codes were binary numbers. They were not. The encodings were patterns, combinations of of zero, one, two, or three holes. This is a reference card in IBM 5081 format: The row numbering was somewhat odd, for historical reasons: 12, 11, 0, 1, ...


20

Although you have many correct answers describing the nature of the coding used in punched cards, no one has touched on the mechanical properties of the cards. Regular users of punched cards in the past would be familiar with this issue, as getting cards through the mechanics of a fast card reader regularly and repeatedly was a major issue at the time. If a ...


17

Program code for modern CPUs, in practice, consists of opcodes which tell the CPU what operation to perform, and operands which provide data to operate on. In RISC CPUs these are necessarily both encoded into the same instruction word, while in CISC CPUs the two usually live in separate bytes, with the operands following each opcode. However there are ...


15

All code is data. But not all data is code. For example, you can take a digital photo and the numbers represent light intensity across a 2D rectangle. Nobody would dispute that this is data but not code. Code is a special kind of data which controls behaviour. ... but it's not that simple. Arguably the digital photo controls the behaviour of whatever ...


13

Round holes might have been 'stiffer', but rectangular holes won on packing density. When IBM invented the 80-column card (up from the previous 40-column Hollerith card of the same size), they determined you could get more columns per card by using rectangular holes. IBM's own history describes two competing designs: the 80-column rectangular-hole card we ...


11

For most parts it's code. Well, code is a quite sloppy term, it covers a huge list of uses, from card scratching to encryption. So more correctly, it's a program (*1), as it defines a sequence of action to be taken by the machine - interpreted when the loom runs the cards. If at all, then thread is data. It is input from spools, processed by the loom ...


9

I'd have added this in a comment but don't have enough rep. If you read far enough into the IBM history link given by another-dave in his answer, you'll find this quote that indicates the rectangular holes were in fact stronger: As well as handling more data, the unique rectangular hole was stronger [emphasis mine] and more compatible with the wire brushes ...


8

However, there were other possibilities, such as a later IBM format that used round holes. Not only later, but also previous IBM formats used round holes. Similar next to all other contemporary (1930s) manufacturers (Powell, CDC, Honeywell, etc). Intuitively it seems to me that round holes would be better from a mechanical stiffness viewpoint, making the ...


7

I think the other answers cover the topic pretty well, but allow me to ask a related question as food for thought: is the music roll of a player piano code or data? On the one hand, the piano just sits there and does nothing without the roll, suggesting that it's "code". On the other, the roll is morally equivalent to sheet music that a human musician ...


7

TL;DR; What was the DEC CR11 card reader 'compressed Hollerith code' for? It essentially allows to read arbitrary card data as distinct 8 bit values, as long they follow the 'Hollerith scheme' of decimal encoding marked up with zones. Long Read: Compressed Hollerith: 5 rows are delivered as-is, and the other 7 (rows 1 to 7) are delivered as a 3-bit ...


6

The Jacquard loom predates the computer by a long time. As such, the distinction is a bit like asking whether or not a horse runs on diesel or petrol; whatever distinction you're trying to make by applying terminology from a different technology isn't likely to be useful or meaningful. The distinction between code and data is mostly a relic of Von Neumann ...


5

The fascinating thing to me is the way in which the media is a hybrid of a punched card and a floppy. It's more like a floppy - especially in its original version, the IBM 2321 Data Cell Drive of 1964 (see below). MagCards are a downscale from the 2321, which was, at its time the top end of random accessible online storage. They provide much larger storage ...


5

Punched cards generally contained human-readable source code or data. In combination with computers, they were pretty much exclusively used as a data entry (as opposed to data storage) medium. You can find an example of the encoding used in the section "IBM 80-column punched card format and character codes" of the Wikipedia article, https://en.wikipedia.org/...


5

The code punched into a 12-row card is not a binary code, but actually a form of extended decimal coding. Rows 0-9 are used to directly encode decimal digits, while letters and symbols are encoded as one decimal row plus one "zone row" which could be the A, B or 0 rows. Within the IBM 1401 series, this was re-encoded as an extended-BCD code in six ...


4

I thought that punched cards already represent the code in binary since a hole means 0 and rest positions mean 1 on a punched card. Virtually all computer data is stored or transmitted in "binary" at some level. In order to interpret most data, you have to delve through multiple layers of meaning... multiple layers of codes. When you get to the lowest ...


4

Preamble We tend to use the word 'binary' in an odd way when talking about the content of computer storage. Fundamentally, storage is always binary: zeroes and ones. But we talk about 'text files' when we mean files in which the zeroes and ones are supposed to be interpreted as making up characters which have meaning to humans (can be printed, etc.), and ...


3

[Preface: The question misses to restrict it to electronic computer equipment, as I assume that#s what you're after. 80 column punch cards were already a thing before and there was much competition] Well, the story of compatilbe punch card equipment predates mainframes by far. In fact, The 80 column rectangular hole punch card was in part developed to shake ...


2

Just as a FYI, prior to buying a handful of Apple ][s, our school programming lessons used marked cards. In essence these were similar to punched cards except that you used something like a 2B or 4B pencil rather than making a hole. This had the advantage that, when the inevitable syntax/programming errors were returned to you a week later, you could erase ...


2

Intro I already added an answer, but this time I want to expand on the idea more forcefully. First, let me say that I think this question perhaps better belongs on CS. It's more about philosophy and theory than it is about the Jaquard Loom, per se. Even so, let's run with it and see how far we get. New Claim We all agree that a given bit string might ...


2

Program code is a specific type of data. So the question is really: What is it that distinguishes code data from other forms of data?. Non-code data is a representation of state. Code data is a representation of a process for manipulating data. Data states remain stable until they are acted upon over time according to the instructions in the code data. ...


1

If you punched a wrong character with a key punch - (I have used them...), You could push a rectangular "chad" into a hole (with a bit of spit) and it would be retained sufficiently well to make it through a 600 card/minute card reader. Would this be true for a circular cut-out? BTW This was on ICL (ICT) 1900 machines, so I don't think it was a ...


1

For completeness, here is an example of a punch card in the row-order byte-based Soviet GOST encoding. ,--------------------------------------------------------------------------------. 12 | X X XXXX X XX X X XXX X XX X X X X X XXXXX X X XX XXX| 11 |X X XXX XX X XX X X XX XXXX X X X XXX X XX X XX XXXX X XX X ...


1

Punched cards are not a "binary" or "text" format; like files in a Unix system they are simply streams of codes (albeit much smaller streams—80 codes per card if you read each column as a code). These can be interpreted as character codes as in a "text file," as binary codes to be loaded and executed as in an "executable file," as a sequence of decimal ...


1

I'm not sure why you're calling it a "hybrid" — it clearly has nothing in common with a punched card, other than the approximate shape and size of the card, which may have been chosen to take advantage of the storage facilities that already existed for punched cards. It is clear from the video that there is a pair of counter-rotating drive wheels, ...


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