The spring of 1968 in computing

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

Keeping Track of Space ‘Junk’ The first of three British earth stations in the Anglo /American Intermediate Defence Communications Satellite Programme (IDCSP) is using an English Electric Elliott 4130 computer to analyse reception data and for general research in a wide range of satellite communication experiments. (CW77 p5)

DEC Expand for PDP Machines With the addition of a further 6,000 square feet to their factory at Arkwright Road, Reading, almost doubling previous capacity, Digital Equipment Corporation have announced that they are to start a full manufacturing programme for the PDP computers in this country. (CW78 p16)

LEO III Used for Mailing List A computerised mailing list, containing the names and addresses of over 150,000 companies, has been completed by the English Electric Computers’ Bureau, for the Financial Times. (CW87 p3)

1901 Operational for Newspaper Typesetting First live operations have been started by Portsmouth and Sunderland Newspapers Ltd on an ICT 1901 computer, which is destined to become the heart of one of the most sophisticated computer typesetting projects in the UK. One weekly newspaper - the West Sussex Gazette - is already being produced by the computerised system, and by the end of the year this will have been joined by six other weekly papers and one evening paper. (CW88 p3)

Fighting Chance for UK Industry The long drawn-out speculation about the constitution of a merged UK computer industry came to an end last week with the announcement of the formation of International Computers Ltd. The new company will combine the commercial and scientific computer business of ICT and English Electric Computers, with both Plessey and the government taking a financial stake. (CW80 p1)

On-Line Use for Elliott Display Units Commercial quantities of a new family of alpha-numeric computer displays, with associated keyboard and light pen input facilities, are now being manufactured at Boreham Wood by Elliott-Automation. The family has been developed for on-line communication applications in all environments and includes units specially designed for use in military aircraft and armoured vehicles as well as commercial and industrial operations. (CW85 p16)

More Terminals on Titan Multi-Access The Titan multi-access system at Cambridge University Mathematical laboratory will soon be able to handle 24 remote terminals at one time. This will become possible when the core store is enlarged from 64K to 128K. (CW79 p20)

Boost for Big System 4 Machines An enhanced version of English Electric Computers’ System 4/70 and 4/75 machines is being offered to a number of universities and research establishments. The improved model offers a general boost in performance under Gibson Mix conditions of about 20 per cent and costs approximately £10,000 more than the standard model. Only single processor models are being offered. (CW78 p1)

Myriad II Cuts Time at Southampton The time taken to analyse sound and vibration measurements at Southampton University has been cut to one hundredth since the installation of a Marconi Myriad II computer. (CW78 p1)

SPL and US Firm Study Heathrow Customs System A first contract for a feasibility study of the £2 million plan to speed Customs at London Airport, Heathrow, has been placed by the GPO’s National Data Processing Service with Planning Research Corp of Los Angeles, in conjunction with Systems Programming Ltd of London. (CW79 p1)

Data Logging System from Solartron A new modular, programmable data logging system has been introduced by Solartron Electronics Group Ltd, Farnborough, Hants. IDAS, or Industrial Data Acquisition System, has a fully industrial specification and the modular design allows a broad range of system configurations to be manufactured on production line principles. The flexibility of IDAS is passed on to the user who can expand and alter his system simply by adding new modules or programs as required. (CW80 p9)

Docks Meat Speed-Up Following the recent installation of an automated system based on three EMIDEC 216 stored program digital computers, a study of problems associated with the unloading of meat is to be conducted on behalf of the Port of London Authority. (CW81 p16)

Automated Grocery Warehouse Groceries supplied to 1,000 Co-operative Society shops in the North-East of England will, from 1970, be distributed from a single, highly automated warehouse now being constructed in Birtley, County Durham. Most local societies within the area, which embraces North Yorkshire, Cumberland, Durham and Northumberland, have agreed to the Co-operative Wholesale Society handling the purchase and distribution of their supplies rather than handling them themselves through small and relatively inefficient warehouses, which would always need to rely on a high degree of manual labour. (CW82 p8)

Oil Depot Controlled by 1130 System The British subsidiary of the Compagnie Francaise de Petrol, Total Oil, who opened their first petrol station in 1960, in the sixth year of their existence and now have 600, have opened an IBM 1130-controlled terminal at Leeds at a cost of £500,000, claiming it to be the most advanced in the UK. (CW82 p16)

Myriad to Control Network The first major hardware step in the establishment of a computer network at English Electric’s Mechanical Engineering Laboratory, at Whetstone, near Leicester, took place this week with the delivery of a Marconi Myriad II with 16K of core store. This machine will be the network controller. (CW83 p1)

Titan Aids Balance of Payments Evaluation Despite devaluation many experts feel that the balance of payments problem currently being experienced in the UK will recur and grow worse, unless more fundamental changes are made in the economy. In an attempt to see how these changes could be made and to evaluate their possible effects a model of the economy is being constructed using the Titan computer at Cambridge University. (CW83 p2)

System 4/50 Bound for Sydney The largest Australian manufacturer of radio communication equipment, Amalgamated Wireless, has ordered an English Electric Computers’ System 4/50 computer for installation in Sydney early next year, with 65K bytes store and a mixed tape/disc configuration. (CW84 p20)

Compact Machine Launched Innovation not research is the big point in the computer industry, said Mr Ian Barron, managing director of Computer Technology, yesterday when he announced the volume production of the Modular One system at the new Hemel Hempstead factory. (CW85 p1)

CEGB get Giant Hybrid System A massive hybrid computing system is to be among the equipment installed at the CEGB’s new Bankside computer centre. Almost certainly the most powerful system of this kind in the UK, it will comprise three EAL 8800 analogue-hybrid computers, an EAL 8400 digital computer, and an EAL 8930 data interface and linkage rack. (CW85 p16)

Argus 400 Ordered for Stock Exchange System A service which will provide City stockbrokers with continuously up-dated data on changes in the prices of about 700 quoted securities, is to be established in July next year by the London Stock Exchange. Based on a £95,000 12K Ferranti Argus 400 system, the service is expected to be used by about 250 stockbrokers involving CPO data transmission facilities between the Stock Exchange and well over 100 office buildings where stockbroker offices are located. (CW86 p1)

ICT’s Optical Memory Unveiled First fruits of ICT’s work into optical stores were shown last week at the Research and Development Centre, Stevenage. The research model shown was a read-only memory with a capacity of 65,000 68-bit words. The memory plate currently being used is about 10 inches in diameter and it is expected that the packing density will be improved at least four times. (CW89 p1)

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