50 Years Ago in Computer Weekly

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50 Years Ago... from the pages of Computer Weekly

compiled by TNMOC Volunteer Archivist, Brian Aldous

A selection of stories from Computer Weekly from the Summer of Love, 1967.The full archive of Computer Weekly can be seen at TNMOC, where there are special rolling displays of front pages from 25 and 40 years ago.

Strongest group in UK industry The strongest and most versatile computer manufacturing group in Britain will be brought into being if the merging of Elliott-Automation with English Electric goes through as planned. Initially computer operations will account for about £15 million out of an expected yearly total of £400 million for the group as a whole. CW041 p1

Fingerprint Processing by Computer French police have developed a fingerprint detection method for the computerised war against crime. The device consists of a glass half cylinder, to receive the finger, onto which light is played through two prisms and a photographic lens. A print is given on 35mm film as the light-handling components execute a regular movement. CW038 p9

Farewell to DEUCE The Dead March from Saul was played by a DEUCE computer last week to an audience including English Electric staff who had helped to design and manufacture the series. The machine, installed in 1960 at English Electric’s Kidsgrove, Staffordshire bureau, was being taken out of service after completing its final task, a stock control scheme. The smallest job DEUCE carried out during its seven years’ service was to design 2,000 bingo cards so that no two of them bore the same combination of numbers. CW043 p1

LEO 326s handle phone & PO accounts A LEO 326 computer delivered to the new GPO computer centre in Edinburgh, latest of seven 326 systems supplied to the GPO by English Electric, will replace punched card equipment to produce telephone bills for 1.25 million subscribers in Scotland and the North East. CW 037 p12

Taming the traffic of Paris Data on vehicle movement in Paris, arriving on French SFIM- supplied equipment at the Technical Headquarters of Paris police, is processed on a GE 425 computer, thought to be the biggest machine used by police in the world and the largest 425 in existence. CW044 p8

Canadian simulator for BOAC Jumbo Jet training A simulator of the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet has been ordered by BOAC at a cost of £750,000 from the Canadian firm CAE Industries, who were competing with British and American firms for the contract. To be installed at Cranebank, near London Airport, the simulator should be in use by 1969. CW045 p7

Plotting Machine for Met Office An automatic plotting machine designed by D-Mac of Glasgow, but manufactured by Systems Computers, is being installed at the Bracknell, Berkshire, head-quarters of the Meteorological Office. It will be used off-line to produce weather charts from paper tape output generated by the centre’s KDF9 computer. CW042 p3

Plessey Develop Optical Reader A commercial version of the Plessey’s Oscar, Optically Scanned Character Automatic Reader, is due to be announced next week. The reader has been developed under an ACTP contract valued at £25,000. CW049 p1

High Speed Postal Order System Details of about 800,000 postal orders, involving a total of 10 million characters, are being transmitted daily from Chesterfield to the Post Office DP centre in Kensington for processing by a LEO 326. CW038 p1

Big Naval orders may follow Ferranti mission A high-pressure sales mission to sell military equipment in Washington and Ottawa may lead to substantial orders for Ferranti in the fields of naval weapons control systems and tactical trainers. CW039 p8

418 Speeds Analysis on Cosmic Ray Research The main task of the Univac 418 installed at the Physics Laboratory of the Ecole Polytechnique in Paris will be the analysis of particle paths through bubble chambers in connection with cosmic ray studies. CW039 p9

Navigational role for STL Processor A central processor using integrated circuits, and eliminating the use of core stores has been developed as part of the advanced control system project at Standard Telecommunications Laboratories at Harlow. One model, known as the Phase Computer, is expected to find application in simple control circuits for navigational aids. CW039 p16

Big machine project by ICT Plans for a series of giant computers, the biggest of which would have 20 times the power of Atlas, have been put before the Ministry of Technology by ICT. Development of the machines, known as Project 51, would cost between £5m and £10m but with government backing the company believe the first machines could be ready by 1970. CW040 p1

Elliott Systems in Nimrod Equipment orders worth £4 million, including 40 Elliott MCS 920B computers, have been placed for the Hawker Siddeley 801 Nimrod, the maritime version of the Comet. Other Elliott systems include an inertial platform and four other electronic sub-systems. CW040 p2

Boeing order TRACE Computer-controlled automatic test equipment for the Boeing Aircraft Co’s Renton plant, in Washington, is being supplied by Hawker Siddeley Dynamics of Hatfield. The equipment will include three testing stations, based on HSD’s TRACE 600 test equipment, controlled by an SDS Sigma 2 computer. CW040 p16

Atlas II for design project The remaining ICT Atlas II is to be used by the Ministry of Technology to establish a national centre for Computer Aided Design, CAD, at Cambridge. It will be the first of its kind in the UK and the largest in Europe, comparable in scope with those in the US. CW042 p1

CAD system at Whetsone laboratory Extensive computer aided design facilities, planned for the Mechanical Engineering Laboratory of English Electric at Whetstone, Leicestershire, will involve a complex of four digital computers and one analogue machine. New computers to be added to the system are a Marconi Myriad II and an English Electric System 4/75. They will link up with two English Electric KDF9s and the Saturn analogue system already installed at the laboratory. CW044 p1

Modular One ‘At End of the Year’ Although no support is forthcoming from the Ministry ot Technology, deliveries of Modular One, the table-top computer aimed at scientific and industrial markets, will begin at the end of this year or early 1968, a spokesman for Computer Technology told Computer Weekly. First machine was to have been delivered to a Scientific user in mid-1967. But negotiations with existing manufacturers, undertaken at the instance of the Ministry of Technology, proved abortive and Computer Technology now plans to manufacture the machine itself at Hemel Hempstead. The announcement follows a statement in the House of Commons in which Dr J Bray, Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Technology, said that the NRDC would be unable to help the firm because it had no manufacturing capability. CW045 p12

Microcircuit system bound for Moscow The first microcircuit computer system from the West officially to reach the USSR will be an English Electric System 4/50, ordered for the Moscow headquarters of the State Committee of Supply, GOSNAB, where it will handle central planning for allocation of orders to factories and warehouses throughout the country. CW046 p1

A General Purpose Interface System for IBM 1130 Realtime Systems Inc, whose European office is at 16 Berkeley Street, London, W1, have designed a general purpose interface system for the IBM 1130 computer to enable it to handle data acquisition and data transmission functions. CW046 p12

First 1907 installed at Putney HQ The first ICT 1907 computer is now installed and operating at the company's Putney headquarters where it will be used in a multi-programming and multi-access mode for the development of software for the 1900 series. Valued at approximately £800,000 the system brings the total of ICT’s hardware investment for software development to about £13/4 million The company already has 1901, 1903 and 1905 machines for this purpose. CW047 p12

Burroughs Introduce 6500 and 7500 Ranges Further evidence of Burroughs Corporation’s move into the large scale EDP equipment market has been given by the introduction of two new systems— the B6500 and B7500— designed to fill the gap between the medium sized B5500 and giant B8500 systems. CW048 p4

Concordances of the Bard by KDF9 Concordances (alphabetical list of words) to 37 Shakespeare plays are to be produced from plates made directly by photographing line printer output at Oxford University Computing laboratory's KDF9. Each play has been punched on to paper tape from facsimiles of the earliest texts at English Electric's London bureau and the completed books will be issued by Oxford University Press. CW050 p12

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