Principles of operation. Type 701 and associated equipment. IBM.

Principles of operation. Type 701 and associated equipment.

Publisher Information: New York: IBM, 1953. International Business Machines Corporation. Principles of operation. Type 701 and associated equipment. IBM electronic data processing machines. [New York: IBM, ©1953; printed 1954.] Spiral-bound. Original printed wrappers, small tear in front wrapper, light wear. 103 [1]pp., including folding illustration. Text illustrations. 282 x 213 mm. Book Id: 39043

Second printing, revised. In 1952 IBM entered the commercial electronic computer market with its 701 system, designed for scientific applications, and described by IBM president Thomas J. Watson Jr., as "the machine that carried us into the electronics business" (quoted in Hurd 1983, 110). The 701, also known as the "Defense Calculator," had originally been developed to meet the high-speed calculating needs of the United States Defense Department during the Korean War. The machine was designed by an engineering team led by Jerrier Haddad and Nathaniel Rochester with an architecture based on John von Neumann's IAS computer, employing a binary number system and a parallel-memory device capable of retrieving all the digits of a "word" at once. For storage, it used three-inch "Williams tubes". The 701's processor performed multiplications at a rate of two thousand per second-four times faster than UNIVAC-and the machine could read data from both punched cards and magnetic tape. The 701 was referred to in company literature as an "electronic data processing machine"-IBM deliberately avoided using the word "computer," which was too closely associated with the rival UNIVAC.

The first 701, consisting of twelve separate units, was installed in December 1952 at IBM's headquarters in New York City, in the same ground-floor display room that had formerly housed the monster SSEC electromechanical calculator (see no. 580). Eighteen more 701 systems were manufactured, most of them leased by the Defense Department or military aerospace firms for $15,000 per month; the last 701 was shipped to the United States Weather Bureau in the spring of 1955. The 701's success was critical in persuading the initially reluctant IBM to commit itself to electronic computers:

"Prior to [the 701] experience, planning and marketing executives could speculate endlessly on whether data could safely be entrusted to invisible tape recording or control entrusted to the ethereal stored program. But when it had been demonstrated that 701s could be manufactured, programmed, maintained, and relied upon for useful results as promised . . . the question thereafter was not whether to build new computers but which machines to introduce and when . . ." (Bashe et al. 1986, 164).

"In order to achieve maximum versatility, every function of the machine is under control of the stored program. This versatility allows the machine to execute instructions at the rate of about 14,000 per second on typical problems. Also, functions such as input-output operation, which are determined by fixed circuitry on some computers, are under complete control of the program, and, hence, under complete control of the operator. The great advantage of this system lies in the fact that a customer may build up a library of programs which will accomplish his special applications at peak machine efficiency. No compromise in efficiency is necessary in the design of the machine to accommodate an average application. Furthermore, a customer may efficiently calculate on any 701 installation simply by using his own library of programs" (p. [5]). When we checked OCLC cited three copies of this brochure. Origins of Cyberspace 710.


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