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Re: One of your readers...My memory
From: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Date: Tue, 2 Sep 2008 19:10:27 -0400

Lets see. Bell Labs got the first IBM 704 using vacuum tube technology. -- IBM:s entry into the scientific computing area. All 32 K of 36 bit words -core . Actually most places got 8 K but Dick Hamming talked management in 32K system saying someone is bound to find a use for it. We Latter upgraded to a IBM 709 slightly enhanced machine but still vacuum tube. Meanwhile IBM was building for the AEC and latter NSA the Stretch. The designers of the Stretch were among the best architects anyone had-- like John Cocke -- a good friend (see http://www.iment.com/maida/tv/computer/johncockewindowdub.htm) who bunt many a hole in my couch while he was re-designing the telephone system -- which actually IBM tried to do -- long story that I will tell sometime.

One of IBM competitors (I forget which, announced a asynchronous transistorized computer that was fast so IBM took Stretch technology and transistorized the 709 into the 709T which was announced as the IBM 7090 and was the engine of research and evoloved to the 7094 prior to the arrival of the 360 .

BTW I had a set of Stretch manuals and also has a hard as hell set of Harvest manuals -- a real fun addition to the Stretch. Documentation of Stretch is hard to find but start at http://www.brouhaha.com/~eric/retrocomputing/ibm/stretch/


Begin forwarded message:

From: Gene Spafford <spaf () cerias purdue edu>
Date: September 2, 2008 1:39:07 PM EDT
To: David Farber <dave () farber net>
Subject: One of your readers...

Dave,

Perhaps one of your readers would know the answer to this. I've tried various online and book searches and cannot find the answer.

Some time back, I read (somewhere) that Thomas Watson, Jr. took a big gamble in going from the IBM 700 series to the 7000 series by using all transistor logic. This was circa 1959. The figure I recall is that transistors were about $7 each (in 1959 dollars; about $60 each in today's dollars).

I'm looking for confirmation and/or a source citation for this.

Thanks in advance.
--spaf



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