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The Core of the Black Canyon Computer Corporation

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129907D
Original Publication Date: 1995-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 9 page(s) / 39K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

JOHN COULEUR: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The 600 started when I headed the ATLAS digital data recording project in the Heavy Military Equipment Department, Syracuse, NY (HMED). I wanted to design a computer. I had developed a simple processor to add to the data recording system to do the preflight checkout of the ATLAS missile guidance radar. When GE received a contract to develop the MISTRAM missile tracking radar for testing the Minute Man missile, I upgraded the checkout processor to a more powerful design which could serve as the control center of the MISTRAM tracking system. The M236, as the new computer was called, was a high speed, 36-bit, minicomputer. It did the down range acquisition, missile tracking, antenna parallax correction, missile position reporting, and system checkout for the MISTRAM system. The Air Force liked the computer, from a standpoint of both cost/performance and reliability, and bought several more for missile tracking applications.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1995 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

The Core of the Black Canyon Computer Corporation

JOHN COULEUR

The 600 started when I headed the ATLAS digital data recording project in the Heavy Military Equipment Department, Syracuse, NY (HMED). I wanted to design a computer.

I had developed a simple processor to add to the data recording system to do the preflight checkout of the ATLAS missile guidance radar. When GE received a contract to develop the MISTRAM missile tracking radar for testing the Minute Man missile, I upgraded the checkout processor to a more powerful design which could serve as the control center of the MISTRAM tracking system.

The M236, as the new computer was called, was a high speed, 36-bit, minicomputer. It did the down range acquisition, missile tracking, antenna parallax correction, missile position reporting, and system checkout for the MISTRAM system. The Air Force liked the computer, from a standpoint of both cost/performance and reliability, and bought several more for missile tracking applications.

At the same time as I was developing the M236, the computer department, under Clair Lashere was developing a new 32 bit computer family (W, X, Y, & Z). As the design progressed, it became apparent that the upper members of the line would have severe performance, costs, and manufacturing problems. GE management was unhappy with the progress of the project and t he high development cost. GE internal large computer users with the prospect of having to replace IBM 7090s with slower computers from the new line.

(Image Omitted: Barney Oldfield developed a simple processor to add to the data recording system to do the preflight checkout of the ATLAS missile guidance radar. USAF Photo)

About a year after the first MISTRAM system was installed in the early 1960s, the Air Force asked me to develop an improved M236 with floating point instructions so they could do down- range impact prediction. In addition, they wanted a Fortran compiler so they could write programs at the site. I asked Don Shell, manager of the mathematics department of the GE Research Laboratory, if he would develop a Fortran compiler for the new version of the M236, which was to be called the M336. Shortly afterward, we wrote a proposal for the Air Force in which the multiprocessor, multimemory, multi-I/O module, architecture was introduced, along with the concept of asynchronous timing connections between the processors, I/O modules, and memories. The architecture was given the M2360 designation. The base/boundary register and slave/master modes of operation were added in late 1963.

After he saw the specifications of the M2360, Shell decided that the M2360 would be a much better large scale computer than the one that Phoenix was developing. As one of the computing leaders in GE, he had influence with the GE...