A few good men from Univac by David E. Lundstrom

By David E. Lundstrom

During this own memoir, electric engineer David Lundstrom recollects the heyday of early computing, the increase of regulate facts out of the Univac department of Sperry Rand, such milestone computers because the Univac and the Naval Tactical facts method the exploits of CDC's most sensible fashion designer Seymour Cray, and the slow company shift from the intriguing and technically attention-grabbing international of laptop layout to inner politics and clumsy forms. - writer.  Read more...

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Getting the rec ord wanted therefore. requires only sele cting the corr ect he ad and waiting until the desired record appears under the head as th e dru m rotates. Drums typically rotate at 2000 t05000 revolution s per minute, so this time interval known as the rotational latency time, is a few thousandths of a second. Moving-head drums have only one or a small number of heads that must be moved paralle l to the axis of rotation until they are over the desired track. The time for the head to move, called the positioner latency time, must be added to the rotational latency time to determine the total time required to access a given record Moving-head drum s are thus slowe r in accessing a data record but lower in cost beca use of the reduced number of magnetic h ead~ Eckert-Mauchly had devel oped a large moving-head drum for use with the LAn G The FASfRAN D drum actually was made up of two huge nickel-plated cylinders, each about six feet long and eighteen inches in diameter.

These were mounted with the long axes horizont al one above the other in a glass-fronted cabinet A single moving-he ad mech anism mounted between the two drum s would whip back and forth horizont ally, dr agging behind it a long flexible cable like a tail The FASfRAND was the subject of much obscene joking by the General Development engine ers. 32 Progress Is Our Only Produ ct An enormous early prototype of a magnetic disk file had been built by the ERA engineers. A magnetic disk file serves exactly th e same function as a magnetic drum.

Sperry Rand soon filed a lawsuit against Control Data, charging theft of trade secrets. Bill Norris nev er concealed his low opinion of the abilities of the senior Sperry Rand manag ement based in New York City. In my opinion, one reason there has been little opportunity for nepotism at Control Data is the contempt that Bill Norris had for the abilities of Marcel Rand, the son of Remington Rand founder Jim Rand Marcel Rand was at one time executive vice-president of the entire Remington Rand operation and Norris's boss.

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