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The IBM 650 and the Universities

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129483D
Original Publication Date: 1986-Jan-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 4 page(s) / 23K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

BERNARD A. GALLER: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Galler refers to the IBM Educational Grant Plan in his paper. For many years, IBM had a policy of a rental reduction, always called an ";educational grant,"; for providing punched-card equipment to colleges and universities. I first knew of this policy at Michigan State College (now University), where I taught mathematics, when I helped the registrar obtain a set of punched-card equipment for registration purposes. The grant was 20 percent of the first-shift rental; I do not remember the policy with respect to possible second- and third-shift usage. Following a 1954 conversation between James R. Killian, president of MIT, and Thomas J. Watson, Jr., president of IBM (see J. R. Killian, ";The Education of a College President: A Memoir, "; MIT Press, 1985, p. 262), I entered into negotiations with Philip Morse, professor of physics at MIT, leading to installation of an IBM 704 in the New England Computing Center at MIT in early 1957. Fernando J. Corbato was director of the center. Also in 1954 I visited Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, and the University of California at Berkeley and at Los Angeles to determine if a similar center should be established that would offer instruction to students who might be interested in the uses of computing for management and business. UCLA was selected, and an IBM 709 was installed at the Western Data Processing Center in 1958 for the use of 32 colleges and universities in the western states. George Brown was the director of the center. Illinois, Michigan, and UC Berkeley had expressed interest in having regional centers as well. The expense of each center was great, however, and Tom Watson and I also hoped that the newly announced 650 would be used by at least a modest number of universities. Therefore, using the earlier 20 percent grant as a starting point, I proposed to Watson that we institute a grant of 40 percent of first-shift rental for any college or university that would teach computing courses in either business or science, and a grant of 60 percent to institutions that would teach courses in both areas and describe such courses in their catalogs. IBM announced the policy in late 1955, with results that Galler and others in this issue describe. In an article headed, ";Slugging It Out in the Schoolyard,"; Time in its March 12, 1984, issue discussed Apple's ";bargain-basement Macintosh offer"; and said: [Figure containing following caption omitted: To capture youngsters, manufacturers frequently seed schools or universities, giving discounts on computers in order to get their machines in the door. Such practices date back to the mid-1950s, when IBM gave colleges a 60% markdown on its giant Model 650 computer. The venture paid off when students trained on IBM equipment went on to head data-processing departments in industry.] Before 1955, any university that wished to establish a computing activity either had to build its own computer or have a special relationship with a manufacturer. Thus, MIT had built the Whirlwind, Pennsylvania the ENIAC, Illinois the ILLIAC, Michigan the MIDSAC and the MIDAC, and Toronto had acquired the Ferranti Mark I, to be called the FERUT. One or two other commercial machines were installed at universities, such as the ElectroData computer, but none had made a major impact on universities in general. The industrial world had begun to embrace the UNIVACS and the IBM 701s, but such machines were too expensive for universities. Computers were seen as useful primarily for scientific applications, and were therefore of interest to an important fraction of the academic community, but one that was too small to justify such an expenditure. This was the situation, of course, before the advent of Sputnik in 1957 and the growth of federal support of scientific and engineering research.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1986 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The IBM 650 and the Universities

BERNARD A. GALLER

(Image Omitted: © 1986 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: Computing Center, University of Michigan, 1075 Beal Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Categories and Subject Descriptors: C.1.1 [Processor Architectures], Single Data Stream Architectures; K.2 [History of Computing] -- hardware, IBM 650, people, software. General Terms: Design. Additional Key Words and

Phrases: education. © 1986 AFIPS 0164-1239/86/010036-038

The IBM 650 and the Universities

BERNARD A. GALLER .00/00)

Editor's Note

Galler refers to the IBM Educational Grant Plan in his paper. For many years, IBM had a policy of a rental reduction, always called an "educational grant," for providing punched-card equipment to colleges and universities. I first knew of this policy at Michigan State College (now University), where I taught mathematics, when I helped the registrar obtain a set of punched- card equipment for registration purposes. The grant was 20 percent of the first-shift rental; I do not remember the policy with respect to possible second- and third-shift usage.

Following a 1954 conversation between James R. Killian, president of MIT, and Thomas J. Watson, Jr., president of IBM (see J. R. Killian, "The Education of a College President: A Memoir, " MIT Press, 1985, p. 262), I entered into negotiations with Philip Morse, professor of physics at MIT, leading to installation of an IBM 704 in the New England Computing Center at MIT in early 1957. Fernando J. Corbato was director of the center. Also in 1954 I visited Stanford University, the University of Michigan, the University of Illinois, and the University of California at Berkeley and at Los Angeles to determine if a similar center should be established that would offer instruction to students who might be interested in the uses of computing for management and business. UCLA was selected, and an IBM 709 was installed at the Western Data Processing Center in 1958 for the use of 32 colleges and universities in the western states. George Brown was the director of the center. Illinois, Michigan, and UC Berkeley had expressed interest in having regional centers as well. The expense of each center was great, however, and Tom Watson and I also hoped that the newly announced 650 would be used by at least a modest number of universities...