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Conversation: Jay W. Forrester Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129315D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 5 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People



Henry S. Tropp

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 20% of the total text.

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Copyright ©; 1983 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Conversation: Jay W. Forrester



  (Image Omitted: © 1983 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Permission to copy without fee all or part of this material is granted provided that the copies are not made or distributed for direct commercial advantage, the AFIPS copyright notice and the title of the publication and its date appear, and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Adapted from "Pioneers of Computing," Tape 4, Science Museum, London, with permission. Science Museum London copyright. Photographs courtesy of the Mitre Corporation. Categories and Subject Descriptors: A.0 [General] -- biographies, J. W. Forrester, K.2 [History of Computing] -- J. W. Forrester, hardware. General Terms: Design, Experimentation, Reliability. Additional Key Words and Phrases: core memory, MIT, Whirlwind.

© 1983 AFIPS 0164-1239/83/030297-301

Conversation: Jay W. Forrester




Henry S. Tropp

In 1972, when I was principal investigator for the Smithsonian-AFIPS Computer History Project, I asked Robert P. Everett, president of the Mitre Corporation, to host a gathering of key people from Project Whirlwind. The group, which included Jay W. Forrester, engaged in a freewheeling discussion about some of the major milestones that occurred during the evolution of that important first-generation computer. One of the topics I was most anxious to explore was the development of coincident-current magnetic-core memory, the advent of which changed computer memory from the least reliable component in a computer to the most reliable.

The discussion was lively but did not adequately portray what had happened in the magnetic- core-memory development. In 1975, when Christopher Evans recorded the tape we are excerpting here (with some editing), day Forrester related the history of the path leading to his technological breakthrough.

Christopher Evans. How did you come to alight on the idea of coincident-current magnetic-core computer memory?

Jay W. Forrester. As various early digital computers were being developed, the characteristics of the available information storage tended to determine the design of the computing machine.

IEEE Computer Society, Jul 01, 1983 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 5 Number 3, Pages 297-301

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Conversation: Jay W. Forrester

There had been mechanical counter-type storage, electrical relay-type storage, and electronic flip-flop-type storage, which can all be characterized as storage in isolated separate units. Later, the acoustic mercury delay line stored many digits along a line in one physic...