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The Cape Cod System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129422D
Original Publication Date: 1983-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 9 page(s) / 39K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

C. ROBERT WIESER: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The Cape Cod System was an advanced-development prototype for the SAGE system. The paper discusses the evolution of the Cape Cod System, which used the Whirlwind computer, from its inception in 1951 through first operation in September 1953.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 11% of the total text.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

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

The Cape Cod System

C. ROBERT WIESER

(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. Author's Address: Physical Dynamics, Inc., 13 Corporate Plaza, Suite 100, Newport Beach, CA 92660. Figures 2-5, 7-9 courtesy MITRE Archives. Figures 1 and 6 courtesy MIT Lincoln Laboratory. © 1983AF'PSo164-

1239/83/040362-369

The Cape Cod System

C. ROBERT WIESER .00/00)

The Cape Cod System was an advanced-development prototype for the SAGE system. The paper discusses the evolution of the Cape Cod System, which used the Whirlwind computer, from its inception in 1951 through first operation in September 1953.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K. 2 [History of Computing] -- hardware, SAGE, software, systems General Terms: Design, Management Additional Key Words and Phrases: defense, U.S. Air Force, Cape Cod System, Whirlwind

Editor's Note

One of the important characteristics of the SAGE development was the close integration of the design with experimental tests of concepts, the discovery and correction of unforeseen difficulties in the real world, and the verification of design details. Thanks to the high priority of air defense and the complete support of the Air Force, we were able to build and operate an evolving experimental air-defense system with which to do our work. This evolving system, as Bob Wieser describes, began with a single radar and eventually became a full- scale air- defense system covering the New England area, with numerous radars, assigned air-defense interceptors, and regularly scheduled raids by SAC bombers. I believe that SAGE could not have been successfully built in such a short time without these extensive experimental facilities.

The Cape Cod System also acted as a demonstration to persuade decision makers in the Air Force, associated contractors, and the community at large that SAGE was actually doable. Today, in a world full of computers, it may be difficult to believe there was a lot of skepticism about whether SAGE could be made to work. In fact, believers were a small minority to start with, and Cape Cod played a major role in persuading important people, especially senior Air Force officials, that MIT was on the right track. Once they believed, they provided the solid backing without which SAGE would not have been possible.

IEEE Computer Society, Oct 01, 1983 Page 1 IEEE Annals of t...