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The CDC 6600 Project

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129356D
Original Publication Date: 1980-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 10 page(s) / 42K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

JAMES E.THORNTON: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

This article is an account of the development of the Control Data 6600 computer first developed in 1964. Of historical interest is the design team approach adopted by Control Data in which a small staff of engineers was isolated from the main operations of the company. Some review is made of the design process as well as the unique features of the machine. The article also includes some comments in retrospect about the results of certain of the initial design objectives.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1980 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The CDC 6600 Project

JAMES E.THORNTON

  (Image Omitted: ©1980 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 copying is by permission of the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. To copy otherwise, or to republish, requires specific permission. Author's address: Network Systems Corporation, 7600 Boone Avenue North, Brooklyn Park MN 55428. © 1980 AFIPS 0164-1239/80/040338-348

The CDC 6600 Project

JAMES E.THORNTON .00/0)

This article is an account of the development of the Control Data 6600 computer first developed in 1964. Of historical interest is the design team approach adopted by Control Data in which a small staff of engineers was isolated from the main operations of the company. Some review is made of the design process as well as the unique features of the machine. The article also includes some comments in retrospect about the results of certain of the initial design objectives.

Keywords and phrases: Control Data Corporation, CDC 6600, parallel operation CR category:
1.2

Development of the computer that was to become the mainstay of product lines at Control Data Corporation began in 1960. This account of the 6600 project is made from the perspective of the design team; as will be apparent, there are gaps in my knowledge of other related events.

The year 1960 was full of challenge, largely as a result of the Sputnik space race and the beginning of a long period of explosive technological change. The electronics and computer industries were especially affected. Only three years before, the integrated circuit had been invented. The first commercial transistor computers had been delivered in early 1960 -- notably the IBM 7090 and the CDC 1604.

Control Data in 1960

Headquarters and computer operations of Control Data were located on the fringe of the downtown loop of Minneapolis in an aging brick building owned by the Minneapolis Tribune and used by them for a newsprint warehouse. Control Data was gradually taking over space in the building in preparation for the production of the 1604, its first computer product, culminating a three-year development effort. Seymour Cray directed the design effort of the 1604, and I reported to him. Control Data had been founded in 1957; many of us joined from Engineering Research Associates, which had been acquired by Remington Rand (later Sperry Univac). During 1960 the staff grew rapidly, putting a major strain on everyone. Producing the 1604

IEEE Computer Society, Oct 01, 1980 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Comput...