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1968 in computing compiled by TNMOC Volunteer Archivist, Brian Aldous.
A selection of stories from Computer Weekly from the autumn of 1968.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.

Sadie and Susie now in one company A new British computer company, Business Computers Ltd, has been formed by an amalgamation of Bismec Computers and Systemation. These companies have been closely associated since 1964, with Bismec handling the sales and marketing of the Sadie and Susie machines made by Systemation. (CW104 p3)

Merger gives UK lead in process control The merging of GEC/AEI-English Electric will take a British company into the world lead for the number of automation and process control computers installed. With a combined total of 451 systems, the new group will have a clear lead of 125 machines over its nearest rival, the giant General Electric of America. (CW105 p1)

4/70 gives NDPS its first teeth The first non-dedicated computer to be ordered by the GPO’s National Data Processing Centre is an ICL System 4/70 worth £800,000. It will be installed at the Leeds NDPS centre next March. While initially it will be used for major tasks within the Post Office the system has sufficient capacity to handle other work, possibly for out¬side customers. (CW103 p1)

ICI to use M2140 on chemical evaluation Data from a high-resolution mass spectrometer, used by the research department of ICI Pharmaceuticals Division, is to be processed by an English Electric M2140 computer system. The machine will work on line to the spectrometer to assist in determining the chemical structure of unknown compounds. (CW103 p1)

Low cost graphics terminal designed by UK firm A wide open market exists for a small inexpensive graphic display terminal. This is the opinion of Graphic Displays Ltd of Luton, who have designed a model to fill the gap below the sophisticated high-performance systems currently available. Graphic Displays are building the prototype using an ordinary television tube. They expect the final version, including software, to sell at about £3,000. (CW103 p3)

360/65 complex for Passenger Name Record system Following two and a half years’ development the passenger name record (PNR) reservation system has been formally initiated by Eastern Air Lines. Initially the system will be limited to the Miami area, though by May next year it will cover the entire USA. PNR will be capable of handling data relating to over a million passengers at one time, the central computer complex taking information from reservation centres at Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Houston, Montreal, Woodbridge NJ, Tampa, San Juan and Seattle as well as Miami. (CW103 p9)

GLC control techniques at Thamesmead lead world A massive scheme using computer techniques to control the entire building operation for the Thamesmead community project on the Woolwich marshes in East London is in the final stages of implementation. The scheme is being run by the Greater London Council on their IBM 360 machines, and is said to be unmatched for size and complexity anywhere in the world. (CW103 p16)

DEC cuts costs of time sharing The use of time-sharing techniques by even the smallest computer user has become a practical proposition with the introduction of Time Share-8, based on the PDP-8/I, by Digital Equipment Co. Costing between £20,000 and £50,000, the system can handle from 8 to 32 terminals simultaneously. A basic Time Share-8 system, costing £21,500 exclusive of terminals, includes a PDP-8/I computer with an 8K core store, backed by a 250,000-word disc and an extended arithmetic option. (CW104 p1)

Twin 3300s in Tote's £5m plan for betting British punters’ bets will be processed by an American computer in 1971 when plans announced this week by the Totalisator Board come into operation. British machines were placed in second and lower places following an investigation by Tote computer officials planning a system to gain more of the off-course betting market. The success of Control Data Corporation in supplying a system to Australia, which has the nearest comparable betting system to that used here, weighed heavily in the choice and CDC have been named as suppliers of the UK system. (CW104 p1)

GPO plans better data transmission services The rate of growth of data transmissions in the UK is clearly shown by figures given last week by Mr John Stonehouse, the Postmaster General. Last year, he said, “We were installing 20-datel terminals a week, this year our average is 120 a week, and next year it will be 200 or more.” The PMG was announcing improvements in the Post Office data transmission service introduced to keep up with the “explosive pace” of demand and to help meet customers special needs. (CW104 p16)

Biggest touchwire order for ATC triple Myriad system A first major British order for touchwire display terminals has been awarded to Marconi by the Ministry of Technology. The 74 units are to be used in the £1.5 million flight plan processing system (FPPS), based on a triple Marconi Myriad complex, at the new Southern Area Air Traffic Control Centre, at West Drayton, Middlesex. (CW105 p16)

ICL joins RCA in mag tape company The formation of a joint company by ICL and RCA to make magnetic products marks another move in the swing towards the use of magnetic tape as the prime media for computer data input and handling. The new company, to be known as RCA Magnetic Products Ltd, is owned 25 per cent by ICL and 75 per cent by RCA Great Britain, the wholly-owned subsidiary of the Radio Corporation of America. (CW107 p1)

1901 for Program Development What is believed to be the first UK computer to be installed by a consultancy exclusively for program development is now in operation for Hoskyns Systems Management at their Hatton Garden offices. The machine, a 16K 1901, is being used by a team of 30 programmers working on programs for clients in manufacturing industries. The programs fall into two categories. The first group covers modular systems for the application of lower cost production and stock control, and the second group is designed to improve the operational efficiency of clients’ machines. (CW107 p1)

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