Browse Prior Art Database

IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 16 Number 2 -- Reviews

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129812D
Original Publication Date: 1994-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 11 page(s) / 47K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

PEGGY A. KIDWELL: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The Reviews department includes reviews of publications, films, audio- and videotapes, and exhibits relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of technical/, economic, business, social, and institutional aspects or other works of interest to Annals readers are briefly noted, with appropriate bibliographic information.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 8% of the total text.

Page 1 of 11

THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1994 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Reviews

PEGGY A. KIDWELL, EDITOR

The Reviews department includes reviews of publications, films, audio- and videotapes, and exhibits relating to the history of computing. Full-length studies of technical/, economic, business, social, and institutional aspects or other works of interest to Annals readers are briefly noted, with appropriate bibliographic information.

Colleagues are encouraged to recommend works they wish to review and to suggest title to the Reviews editor.

Charles J. Bashe, Lyle R. Johnson, John H Palmer, and Emerson W. Pugh, IBM's Early Computers, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., 1986, xviii + 717 pp., index, $27.50

Emerson W. Pugh, Lyle R. Johnson, and John H. Palmer, IBM's 360 and Early 370 Systems, MIT Press, Cambridge, Mass., xx + 821 pp., index, $37.50.

The first of these two companion volumes starts with the Hollerith era at the end of the nineteenth century and ends in 1962, when IBM's computer revenues were just beginning to exceed those from its punched-card machines. It concentrates on the 1945-1962 period and deals with machines ranging from electromechanical devices to all- electronic, stored-program digital computers. The second volume covers the 1960-1975 period, and is largely confined to the single computer family System/360.

Both volumes are about engineering alternatives and decisions rather than business and management considerations. They give a complete, fair, and balanced account of IBM's technical accomplishments in this period. The text is well supported by references and notes. The large number of personal names in the index shows how often the authors were specific about who did what, not taking refuge in the unfortunately popular weasel phrase, "It was decided."

After a brief review of punched-card machines, the first volume covers electronic calculation, the magnetic drum IBM 650 computer, the Defense Calculator (IBM 701). and other first-generation computers; ferrite core, magnetic tape, and disk memories; programming; transistors; Project Stretch; high-speed printers; research; and the IBM 1401. The second volume tells how the System/360 architecture came into being, highlighting such topics as the gamble on hybrid circuits, the success of a unified product line, storage developments, and the PL/1 and Future System failures. It ends with a chapter on the trend toward terminal operating systems. A rather sad penultimate paragraph, apparently written as the book went to press in 1990, comments on the proliferation of small, low-priced computers, none of which owed anything to the 360 architecture.

While the appendixes to the first volume are devoted to the internal organization and operation of some of the computers, those of the second volume describe the organization of IBM itself, indicating a shift of...