The winter of 1967/8 in computing

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The winter of 1967/8 in computing compiled by TNMOC Volunteer Archivist, Brian Aldous.
A selection of stories from Computer Weekly from the autumn of 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.

LEO 326 to Optimise Mail Vans A scheme to optimise the use of the 600 mail vans operated in the Central London area has been developed by the GPO, in conjunction with English Electric Computers, using one of the GPO's seven LEO 326 computers. The fleet performs some 30,000 time critical trips a week, mainly within a five mile radius of King’s Cross and mainly against regular commitments. (CW75 p7)

Memorex Enter Disc Market Closely following the prediction made by several computer manufacturers, particularly in the US, that disc stores will have an increasingly important role to play in data processing over the next three to five years, Memorex, best known for their high precision magnetic tapes, have announced their entry in to the disc market. Until recently the only disc pack available with full third generation compatibility has been that manufactured by IBM, principally for their own 1311 and 2311 disc drives. (CW76 p16)

DEC’s Rapid Growth as PDP/8i is Introduced Digital Equipment Corporation has recently announced the integrated circuit version of their PDP/8 range of 12-bit-word computers which will be available in this country at a price of £6,200 for the rack-mounted version. At about the same time the American journal EDP Industry Report published an issue devoted to an examination of DEC which is today’s leading supplier of smaller computers. (CW65 p7)

EAL-Honeywell Hybrid for MRC Project The first hybrid computer for use in medical research in the UK is to be installed by the Medical Research Council at the Mill Hill, North London, centre of the National Institute of Medical Research. The system will be used to extend work on biological models. The analogue side will use the centre’s existing EAL TR-48 machine, and digital facilities will be provided by a Honeywell DDP 516 with an interface system jointly devised by the MRC and Honeywell. (CW69 p1)

1900A Range Leads Bid for New Markets Deliveries at the rate of five a week by the end of 1968 are forecast for the ICT 1901A, the smallest of the new fully compatible 1900A range of computers announced this week. (CW70 p1)

UK Small Machine to Meet Growing Demand The first deliveries of Modular One, the compact computer designed and manufactured by Computer Technology Ltd at Hemel Hempstead, are scheduled for May. Currently the company has between £150,000 and £250,000 of work in hand and expects to deliver 30 systems this year. (CW70 p1)

360/91 on Space Project The fastest and most powerful IBM computer ever delivered to an outside user, a 360/91, is now fully operational on research problems at the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Goddard Space Flight Centre, near Washington DC. It is being used in a project designed to increase the knowledge of the earth's magnetic field, high and low-energy particles, ionosphere meteorology, micro-meteorites, solar physics and astronomy. (CW70 p1)

360/85 Added to IBM Range The most powerful machine to be made generally available in the 360 range, the Model 85, has now been announced by IBM. The 360/85, which is likely to be of most interest for scientific applications, is capable of 12.5 million operations a second and can multiply two 10-digit numbers two million times in one second. (CW72 p1)

Classroom of Tomorrow Two recent events foreshadowing the rapid advance of computer-aided instruction in US schools is the expansion of the Stanford-Kentucky Teletype network and the RCA demonstration at the HemisFair ’68 International Exposition in Texas, which features an electronic system for the “classroom of tomorrow”. Thirty new Teletype machines went into operation at the Breckenridge School of Morehead State College, Kentucky, providing students with more places for the 15-minute practice sessions at these terminals. (CW73 p7)

Multi-access Plan at Hospital The first hospital multi-access system in the UK is to be based on one of two ICT computers that have been approved by the Ministry of Health for installation at London hospitals. The multi-access, using a 1905E, will be at King's College Hospital and will be used to process the day-to-day activities of the hospital on a real time basis. Among the first applications will be outpatient appointments, inpatient admissions, bed allocation, nurse allocation, drug and diet control, and the analysis of laboratory and other tests. (CW74 p1)

GUS Plans On-Line Mail Order Service The veil of secrecy over the plan of Great Universal Stores to computerise their mail order and other businesses is gradually cracking. The latest step has been to order a Honeywell 1200 system as an interim measure until the installation of the planned English Electric System 4/50. (CW64 p1)

English Electric/E-A link-up activities Another step in the integration of English Electric and Elliott Automation has been taken with the linking up of the computer activities of the two companies. (CW64 p2)

Cybernetic Model Built by Russians The Russians claim to have built a cybernetic model of purposive behaviour which exhibits the human personality attributes of instincts for self-preservation, reproduction and social behaviour. (CW64 p8)

CAD Program Speeds Engineering Projects A computer program which, it is claimed, could have saved this country £2,500,000 in design drawing operations in 1966, has been introduced by the international engineering contractors, Humphreys and Glasgow of Victoria, London. The program enables isometric projections of piping layouts to be automatically produced by a computer, and a variant of the program is now available for use on electrical cable-sizing problems. (CW65 p16)

360/30 Real Time System On-Line A real-time order-control system using an IBM 360/30 and seven display terminals goes on-line on 1 January at the Worcester offices of Kay and Co, a large mail order company within the Great Universal Stores group. (CW66/67 p16)

NRDC Support for Mini Machine A new computer, the Micro 16, which meets the Ministry of Technology’s Type C specification for small computers, has been launched by Digico Ltd, of Welwyn Garden City, Herts. Development of the new machine has received support from the NRDC and competes directly with the DEC PDP/8S for the scientific market. (CW68 p1)

Plessey’s N/C Orders With orders totalling £250,000 as a result of the company’s participation in the recent Machine Tool Exhibition at Hanover, a numerical-control success story has come from the Plessey Automation Group. They have received orders for 26 N/C systems for customers in the UK, France and Germany. Most of the units sold under these contracts are of the Plessey BR3100 type - a basic contouring design with a wide range of options making a very flexible and efficient system. (CW71 p5)

Remote Access Program for KDF9 In anticipation of the increasing demand for large-scale remote-access systems based on a central computer, the Operations Research Department of English Electric Computers has developed a program for the Bureau Division’s KDF9 at Kidsgrove which calculates the optimum methods of installing such a system. (CW71 p15)

Sheffield gets Third University 1907 The last of the three ICT 1907 computers to be ordered by a British university is now being installed at Sheffield, and should be operational by the late spring or early summer. The others are already installed at the Queen’s University, Belfast, and at Southampton University. (CW72 p1)

Devaluation Swings Order to System 4 Devaluation has brought a windfall to English Electric Computers in the way of a £102,000 order for a System 4/30 in place of an IBM 360/30 which gasket and jointing compound makers Richard Klinger has had on order since December, 1966. The new contract has followed the price increases arising out of devaluation announced by IBM last month. The total saving amounts to about £20,000, roughly half of which is due to the change in pound sterling. (CW73 p1)

Real time plan of Mirror Group Company In the six months since its establishment, International Data Highways, the Mirror Group’s subsidiary formed to take advantage of computers, has had time to clarify its aims. Large-scale recruitment which is now starting indicates that the go-ahead has been given and it is expected that computer staff will double this year. In addition to its four existing projects, Computaprint, Scan, Scan Plan 2, and Computer Data Processing, the company is now ready to tackle four further major projects, but is keeping details of them under guard at the moment. (CW73 p16)

System 4 Boosted by 4/40 The position of English Electric Computers has been strengthened this week by the addition to the System 4 range of the Model 40 which fits into the family between the 4/30 and 4/50, and is directly competitive with the new ICT 1903A. This is the first addition to System 4 since the introduction of the 4/75 multi-access machine. (CW75 p1)

GPO Extends Service with Datel 300 The announcement of the Datel 300 service has taken the GPO into the business of marketing a computer peripheral. It is, however, according to Mr Geoffrey Dale, of the GPO’s telecommunications HQ, an exceptional case and in no way indicates a change of policy, which has been and continues to be, to supply a communications service, while industry supplies the peripheral hardware. Datel 300 is a service for the collection of industrial data, and it is expected that users will have their terminal equipment at several locations over a wide area. In these circumstances, the decision was taken to supply the necessary card readers, tape readers and keyboards in addition to the modems, thus enabling the GPO maintenance service to be used. Customers with suitable peripherals, however, will be able to hire the modulators alone. (CW76 p1)

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