Engineering: Editor's Note
Original Publication Date: 1986-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Software Patent Institute
The first two paragraphs of a document titled, ";Historical Information on the Development of the Basic IBM 650 Data Processing System,"; read as follows:
THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.
Copyright ©; 1986 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.
Engineering: Editor's Note
The first two paragraphs of a document titled, "Historical Information on the Development of the Basic IBM 650 Data Processing System," read as follows:
The development of the basic, punched card operated IBM 650 Data Processing System was
carried out, principally at the company's laboratory in Endicott, New York, under the direction of
Messrs. Frank E. Hamilton, Ernest S. Hughes, Jr., and James J. Troy, who were also the chief
inventors. In the group guided by these men were others who made significant contributions to
the development, including Messrs. R. W. Avery, S. H. Blackford, E. A. Brown, J. J. Ingram, W.
K. Lynn, and C. B. Smith.
Basic components design and systems approaches for a computer of the nature of the 650 were in progress in the late 1940's and continued for a number of years. (E. H. Getkin and D. G. Knight, Department of Information, IBM Data Processing Division, March 1959.)
Credit is not given in this document to the activities of the Applied Science Mathematics Planning Group, which worked side by side and in parallel first with Frank Hamilton and then with Ernest Hughes and James Troy. This group was headed by Elmer Kubie, who was later joined by George Trimble and then Dura Sweeney. The key to the contributions of the group was the knowledge of applications and such software as existed at the time. Kubie had been manager of the Card Programmed Calculator (CPC) section of the IBM Technical Computing Bureau with Applied Science at WHQ in New York City. Trimble, who had been at the Aberdeen Proving Ground, knew the ENIAC and later machines. Sweeney came from the Los Alamos Scientific (now National) Laboratory. I believe that all of these men were familiar with the CPC.
Frank Hamilton had been the chief engineer of the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator (ASCC, the Harvard Mark I), which IBM built for Harvard University, and became chief engineer for the IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator (SSEC) (see Bashe 1982). He then began work on what was to be the 650. Hughes followed him as chief engineer. Hamilton and Kubie presented a paper at the ACM meeting in September 1953, reprinted here. (See Bashe et al. 1981 and Evans 1984 for further details of the development of the 650.)
We are publishing a paper by Hughes on the transition from the SSEC to the 650. Within IBM there were proposals and counterproposals for a medium-priced machine, including two proposals relating to the IBM Type 604 Electronic Calculating Punch (see IBM 1948). I am sure that ideas of the 604 influenced the original design of the 650 and that one of these influences led to a contribution I made to the ultimate design. The 604 contained 16 positions (decimal digits) of factor storage and 16 positions of general storage. Factor stora...