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

IBM promotion in the Highlands

The development and promotion of the electronics and computer industries in the Scottish Highlands is to be actively encouraged by IBM’s Scottish subsidiary, which has offered to give training and technical assistance to potential suppliers within or moving into the region. (CW116 p1)

ICL’s stock rises in Australia

The latest coup in a succession of major orders won by ICL in Australia is believed to be a contract from the Victorian Government for a large machine worth more than $500,000. It is understood that the order has been placed with International Computers Australia Pty Ltd. (CW116 p8)

Pilots agree over Automation of In-Flight Procedure

The theme of last week’s British Airline Pilots Association symposium, held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel, London, was automation, simulation and data handling in civil aviation. ­ The conference represented something of a breakthrough, in that this was the first time that pilots have formally agreed over the need for automation of inflight procedures. (CW116 p9)

Data Bank planned to aid Virologists

One of the most comprehensive documentation services of its kind is the claim made for a new data bank of papers on virology which is being set up by Information Retrieval Ltd. The firm intends that the data bank will hold details of 50,000 papers published from 1950 onwards, and will be updated each year with over 5,000 new abstracts. (CW117 p1)

Terminals On-Line via PDP-8 Link

Progress on the IBM 360/65 based at Harwell Users Workshop has now reached the point where some 64 terminals are connected on-line via a DEC PDP-8 used as a message concentrator. Eventually some 160 terminals will be connected via an AEI Con Pac 4060, and it is planned then that the PDP-8 link will be used for links with other experiments. (CW117 p3)

ICL Programs for N/C Applications

A new series of programs for numerical control applications has been announced by ICL. The significant features of the programs are the extensive use made of macros and the reduction in clerical effort involved. (CW117 p5)

World’s Biggest Group

The largest automation group in the world has been formed within the GEC empire by a combination of the facilities of GEC-AEI, English Electric and Elliott-Automation in a new company to be known as GEC-Elliott-Automation Ltd. (CW118/119 p1)

N/C Methods for Design of Ship Hulls

A system for the design and production of ship hulls by numerical control methods was presented to members of the British shipping industry in London last week. The system, designed and used by Kockums, the Swedish shipyard, was presented by Isis Computer Services, whose business is concerned mainly with the shipping industry. (CW118/119 p10)

Controlling 2,000 miles of oil pipeline in Canada

Twenty-Four PDP-8/S computers and an IBM 360/40 are being used to control 2,000 miles of oil pipeline in Canada. The pipeline is owned by the Interprovincial Pipe Line Co of Edmonton, Alberta. (CW120 p7)

FBI Encoding of Fingerprint Identification

The first stage in developing a system for encoding fingerprint identification for the US Federal Bureau of Investigation has recently been completed by Mr Joseph Wegstein, staff research scientist of the US National Bureau of Standards Centre for Computer Sciences and Technology. He designed the procedure using a computer to produce compact descriptions based on the minutiae of the fingerprint impression. (CW120 p8)

Significant Trends Outlined at OCR Conference

Current trends in optical character recognition in the USA was the subject of a three-day conference held in Hollywood Beach, Florida just prior to the Fall Joint Conference in San Francisco, where one afternoon session was devoted to the new branch of OCR — namely HNR, handwritten numeral recognition. (CW121 p13)

Multi-access System 4/50 for Hospitals

A multi-access hospital information system based on an ICL System 4/50 is to be installed at Stoke-on-Trent in April, 1970. The system will serve the two main Stoke hospitals, North Staffs Royal Infirmary and City and General Hospital with a total of 1,300 beds, and also the central out-patients department in Stoke, which handles the majority of the out-patients for over 16 hospitals in the area. (CW121 p20)

Leeds Group Develops Multi-Access

An entirely new multi-access system for the KDF9 has been developed at Leeds University computing laboratory. The system is considered to be more efficient than the EGDON 3 system, which was developed at the Culham laboratory of UKAEA with the collaboration of programmers from Leeds as well as other KDF9 users. (CW122 p1)

High Speed Page Reading System Launched

A high speed page reading system that can cope with conventional type faces or fonts has been put on to the UK market by the newly formed company, Real Time Systems Ltd. (CW122 p3)

NPL buys KDF9 from the NCC

To meet the growing demand for computer time, the National Physical Laboratory is to purchase a second KDF9. This machine will come from the National Computing Centre which is planning to replace its present KDF9/1904 system in October this year with an ICL 1905F. (CW123 p1)

New System for BEA’s 1903 at Heathrow

Savings of £240,000 over the next three years from extending the ‘safe lives’ of many aircraft components is expected by BEA as a result of a new computer application. The airline has introduced onto its ICL 1903 at its Engineering Base at Heathrow, a system known as Component Time Control System. It will monitor and control over 300,000 aircraft parts. (CW123 p3)

Time Sharing System gets UK and US Launching

The announcement in this country of Honeywell’s time sharing system, based on one DDP-416 and two DDP-516 computers, has