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Anecdotes: The Life and Times of the Digital Computers Association (DCA) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129937D
Original Publication Date: 1996-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 8 page(s) / 41K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Walter M. Carlson: AUTHOR [+2]


Boulder, CA 95006

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 16% of the total text.

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Copyright ©; 1996 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Anecdotes: The Life and Times of the Digital Computers Association (DCA)

Walter M. Carlson

Boulder, CA 95006

THE DATE: St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1995 THE PLACE: Kent Room, Airport Marina Hotel, Los Angeles THE EVENT: Annual Dinner Meeting of Digital Computers Association (DCA)

There were 40 of us at a dinner to celebrate DCA's founding in 1952, the oldest computer users group in history. It is timely to reflect on DCA's many contributions in the light of this year's celebration of 50 years of computer history.

Seated at our table were four of the 41 legends who have served at least one term as the chair of DCA (see Table 1). Two of them were also at the first dinner meeting of less than 20 persons on November 15, 1952 at Santa Monica's Santa Inez Inn. Two more of the earliest attendees were at other tables in the room A prime topic of discussion at our table was whether this was the first or second "last meeting of the DCA." What follows will lead up to that debate and explain it.

In The Beginning

It all started when IBM decided, in 1951, to seek customers for its new "defense calculator," later known as the IBM 701. Since many of the aerospace firms in the Los Angeles basin were pressing for greater release from what one has called "drowning in arithmetic," a five-person branch office, under Ralph Harris in Santa Monica, was selected to sell and install this new machine. One of the key salesmen was R. Blair Smith, who had joined IBM in January, 1950 as an "assistant salesman," after 11 years working with punched-card equipment for Boeing, a shipbuilder, a film studio, Western Airlines, and Flying Tigers (then flying out of the Lockheed Air Terminal in Burbank).

Smith had taken orders for two IBM 701s from Douglas Aircraft. He also found out that everyone with a machine on order was struggling to find out how to get over the hurdle of putting the system to useful work. He found out further, that with a few exceptions, the five or six local firms with 701s on order were carefully protecting anyone from finding out what they were doing. They were working even harder to protect their own people from raids by the others.

TABLE 1. DCA CHAIRS 1952 TO 1995 Year Name 1952 R. Blair Smith, Founder 1953 Leo Aronian 1954 Walter Schliesser 1955 Donald W. Pendery

IEEE Computer Society, Jun 30, 1996 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 18 Number 2, Pages 63-66

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Anecdotes: The Life and Times of the Digital Computers Association (DCA)

1955 Lee Amaya 1956 Jack A. Strong 1957 Don Furth 1958 Paul Armer 1959 Eugene Jacobs 1960 William Dobrusky 1961 Bob Beach 1962 Paul Armer ## 1963 Francis V. Wagner 1964 Charles Baker 1964 Eugene Jacobs 1965 Brad McKinzie 1966 Bob Patrick 1967 Willard Olsen 1968 Morton I. Bernstein 1969 Eugene Jacobs **...