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How the SAGE Development Began

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129471D
Original Publication Date: 1985-Jul-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

GEORGE E. VALLEY, JR.: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Events leading to the adoption of voice telephone lines for air- defense operational messages are described. This process paved the way for the use of operational data lines in the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) system. The paper describes the early considerations leading to the use of a digital computer in SAGE, and how Whirlwind was chosen to be that computer. The context of the development of magnetic core memory is illuminated. The attitudes of engineering professionals toward digital equipment are reviewed. The author reveals how the name ";Ground Environment"; was created.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1985 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

How the SAGE Development Began

GEORGE E. VALLEY, JR.

  (Image Omitted: © 1985 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: 607 Main Street, Concord, MA 01742. © 1985AFIPS0164-1239/85/0301196-226

How the SAGE Development Began

GEORGE E. VALLEY, JR. .00/00)

Events leading to the adoption of voice telephone lines for air- defense operational messages are described. This process paved the way for the use of operational data lines in the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) system. The paper describes the early considerations leading to the use of a digital computer in SAGE, and how Whirlwind was chosen to be that computer. The context of the development of magnetic core memory is illuminated. The attitudes of engineering professionals toward digital equipment are reviewed. The author reveals how the name "Ground Environment" was created.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K. 2 [History of Computing] -- hardware, people, SAGE, software, systems General Terms: Design, Human Factors Additional Key Words and Phrases: ADSEC, core memory, defense, Lincoln Laboratory, MIT, U.S. Air Force, Whirlwind

Foreword

Robert R. Everett

I am very pleased that the Annals has the opportunity to publish George Valley's memoir of how SAGE came to be. When we were putting together the Annals issue on SAGE (Vol. 5, No. 4, October 1983), of course, I asked George to participate in the discussion and also to write something about SAGE if he so wished. It turned out that he was unable to join the discussion, but he did agree to write an article. George never does anything by half, so he began by collecting documents and papers and then wrote the following extensive memoir. Unfortunately, by the time he had the memoir in a form with which he was satisfied, the deadline on the SAGE issue had passed, and the memoir could not be included.

The wait has been worthwhile, however. I find the memoir lucid, readable, and entirely fascinating. George Valley played a leading role in SAGE -- without Valley there would have been no SAGE. He was there, and he tells us how he saw it and how he felt about it. So much of what we read these days has had all the emotion and humanity squeezed out of it in the name of cool factuality. Once in a while we come across something that sounds like it was written by a real human being -- something that has...