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Defense Research at Bell Laboratories: Military Systems Engineering and Research

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129396D
Original Publication Date: 1982-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-05
Document File: 8 page(s) / 35K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

C. A. Warren: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

One area where Bell Laboratories' expertise contributed significantly to postwar systems was in research and advanced development. One of the most noteworthy examples of this type of pioneering work was the early application of the transistor, invented at Bell Laboratories in 1947. The system planners in the military services recognized the potential impact of this device and supported Bell Laboratories fundamental research and early military application of transistors. Out of this exploratory effort came TRADIC, the first all-solid-state computer. This, and other examples of research and advanced development, were the starting points for major developments undertaken by Bell Laboratories and other companies.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1982 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Defense Research at Bell Laboratories: Military Systems Engineering and Research

C. A. Warren

B. McMillan

B. D. Holbrook

One area where Bell Laboratories' expertise contributed significantly to postwar systems was in research and advanced development. One of the most noteworthy examples of this type of pioneering work was the early application of the transistor, invented at Bell Laboratories in 1947. The system planners in the military services recognized the potential impact of this device and supported Bell Laboratories fundamental research and early military application of transistors. Out of this exploratory effort came TRADIC, the first all-solid-state computer. This, and other examples of research and advanced development, were the starting points for major developments undertaken by Bell Laboratories and other companies.

1. Research and Exploratory Development

1.2 Transistorized Digital Computers for Military Projects

1.2.1 Transistorized Gating Matrix.

The early point-contact transistors, announced by Bell Laboratories in 1948, combined in a single component the logic-gating capabilities of the crystal diode and the amplifying ability of the vacuum tube. Early in 1949, a gating matrix of such transistors was developed by W. H. MacWilliams, Jr., and employed as an essential part of a simulated- warfare computer. This simulator was built to compare, in the laboratory, various possible versions of naval systems used for optimal control of guns and directors. Such systems would be used by warships as a defense against attack by enemy aircraft.

The gating matrix developed by MacWilliams (1957) was an array of 40 transistors -- about all that were initially available -- and was used successfully for about 18 months in the study of design aspects of antiaircraft systems. This circuit is believed to be the first to use transistors to perform a practical function in operating laboratory equipment. It proved very useful in the early design of the Mark 65 system for the Navy.

1.2.2 General Considerations.

The transistors in this matrix provided gain as well as logical functions. The success of the matrix encouraged exploration of the application of transistors in other computing systems. Until this time, electronic digital computers had almost all used some form of vacuum-tube, flip-flop circuits as basic elements. By 1950, however, the advantages of diode OR and AND gates and similar circuits for the logical manipulation of digital data began to be recognized. These circuits

IEEE Computer Society, Jul 01, 1982 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 4 Number 3, Pages 236-244

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Defense Research at Bell Laboratories: Military Systems Engineering and Research

not only simplified the design and maintenance of computers, but since crystal diode...