Back In The Day: Computing in 1959, 1971

I was just cleaning up some old papers and came across the following.

Here are a few pages from the manual for a Bendix G-15 computer, dated June, 1959. I recall writing a few programs on this machine some time in 1960 while a member of an Explorer Troop at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The machine had 2000 words and used punched cards for input. The *entire* manual, with instruction set, list of terms, operating instructions, and summary table, fit into less than 30 pages of text. Those were the days!

Bendix G-15 Table of Contents

Bendix G-15 pp 1-3

There was some progress by 1971. This is part of of the first SETL implementation, BALM-SETL. I wrote most of it. It was implemented in MBALM, a LISP-like language created by Prof. Malcolm Harrison of NYU/CIMS.

11971 MBALM output on teletype paper

I haven’t a clue what this particular computation was about, but seeing the yellowed paper after decades sure does bring back the memories. This was probably run on a CDC 6600, then the world’s faster computer, with a speed of about 3 MIPS. It had 1MB of main memory, and jobs over512KB were run overnight!

A few months back my daughter Alison bought a $400 e-machine with 512MB running Vista. It took 20-30 seconds to load a single web page. The performance improved when I bought another 1GB of memory for about $100, increasing the cost of the machine to $500.

The entire manual for the Bendix G-15, hardware AND software, came to less than 30 pages of double-spaced text. Microsoft’s OOXML spec is over 6000 pages in length.

Thank God we have open-source. Otherwise there wouldn’t be any fun left in programming.

One Trackback

  1. […] computer, and I still have the computer manual to show it, as I have described in an earlier post, Back In The Day: Computing in 1959, 1971. One of the scoutmasters worked at the personel office in the base, and with his help I was able to […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  • Pages

  • November 2007
    M T W T F S S
    « Oct   Dec »
  • RSS The Wayward Word Press

  • Recent Comments

    Daniel Boulet on SPITBOL for OSX is now av…
    Clay on On being the maintainer, sole…
    daveshields on On being the maintainer, sole…
    daveshields on On being the maintainer, sole…
    daveshields on On being the maintainer, sole…
  • Archives

  • Blog Stats

  • Top Posts

  • Top Rated

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Top Rated

  • %d bloggers like this: