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A Story about the Computer's Creation, and how it got its Software

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Ralph Corbett

on 11 July 2012

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Transcript of A Story about the Computer's Creation, and how it got its Software

On election night 1952, young Walter Cronkite was hosting the results on CBS,
with UNIVAC as his guest. UNIVAC was to predict the results, and its (his?) early prediction was extremely accurate, a landside for Dwight Eisenhower. This was so accurate, and so early, that this prediction was not released until after the election ended, because CBS did not believe UNIVAC. All were amazed at UNIVAC’s accomplishment. there were two inventers. One was John Eckert, an electrical engineer, and John Mauchly a physicist, who started their own business in 1946, after working and building computers for the Department of Defense in WW2. They called their company the Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation, and its purpose was to build custom computers. O nce upon a time Their first computer design was called BINAC (Binary Automatic Computer),
based off their early computer, the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), which they built during WW2. They wanted to build and sell this wonderful calculation machine. The Census Bureau wished to have one for the 1950 population census, and an agreament (contract) of $350,000 was written. Seeing as John Eckert and John Mauchly had never actually built a computer on their own (without military assistance and funding), there were many delays and overruns of cost, which is to be expected in designing a new product. Before the computer, everyone used the punch card system. This relied on many
marvelous machines, which are: the keypunch to put data onto the card, the sorter machine for putting the cards in ABC order, and tabulators for performing the actual mathematical
calculations, usually addition, and displaying the results. All of the punch cards were hand carried by many people, and the opportunities of mistakes were vast. Especially slipping on the floor, causing all of the punch cards to fall in disarray. Unfortunately for our two inventing heroes, the Census Bureau had signed a
contract for the fixed amount. The two needed help, and hired more people
to help them, and then they signed new agreements to pay for the old agreements.

Business savvy was not theirs. This eventually led to bankruptcy, and selling
the company to Remington Rand, who had many wonderful products in
production, notably the electric shaver, an assortment of typewriters and
office equipment. Remington Rand completed their computer with their extensive engineering
and manufacturing facilities, and called their new product, UNIVAC -
UNIVersal Automatic Computer. After words, word spread around the globe, and all wanted a UNIVAC, even the cartoon industry. IBM was the office machine king. They are, after all, International. They made a fortune off the tabulating and punch cards machines. They even had their own computer, the IBM SSEC, built in 1948 for scientific usage, which was donated to the science industry for their use in 1952. (It was also taking up to much room in the IBM lobby, where it was on display for all to see.) Thomas J. Watson, Sr., IBM's president, had no other interest in computers, and would dismiss anyone who brought it up. Thomas surrounded himself with “yes men”. He would only listen to his son, Thomas J. Watson, Jr., who found out the
Census Bureau had purchased a UNIVAC, and not more tabulating machines,
and saw the future in an instant. He fought furiously with his father over this.
“We must start making computers!”, said young Thoman J. Watson, Jr.
But his father would have no hear of this. The UNIVAC required all information to be placed on magnetic tape for processing. The UNIVAC Card to Tape converter would be on the input. Finally, in 1952, Thomas J. Watson, Sr. retires, and handed the reins to his son, a very likeable person, who put the enter company to work making a computer. This was done in 1953, and called the IBM 701. It was bigger, slower, and not as efficient as the UNIVAC, but it had two things in its corner, it still used the familiar punch cards for data input, something people were familiar with, and already had in their possession. It is worth noting, the Univac required data to first be placed on magnetic tape, this is what helped make it efficient. And the 701 had the IBM sales team. IBM’s sales team was the envy of the entire world. They knew people, and how to give them what they need. To sell the larger and slower machine was a task. Yet it was easily done. By 1960, IBM had ¾ of the computer market. Remington Rand had many other products, and did not miss the UNIVAC very much after it was left behind. Soon, many computers were built, and many companies were happy. With one very, small, minor, exception. There was absolutely, unequivocally, non-arguably, indistinguishably, conversationally, neglectfulally, inconvertably, and zoology, a fact-upon-all-facts: not a single computer program written. Nor was there a friendly computer language to write them. Programs are written with zeros and ones. To the vacuum tube inside the computer, the zero represents “without voltage”- 0 volts, and a one is 5 volts, making the vacuum tube either on or off. As these voltages, or lack of, races through the vacuum tubes making up the registers, buffers, and processing units, things are done. This is done by physically wiring the thousands upon thousands of vacuum tubes together, and the engineers will then translate these instructions.
Instructions such as: “Move last digit of number in file X into buffer J”, into zeros and ones.
A very tedious task.

Today, this is easily done with using high-level languages like Java or C++, and even low-level languages like MIPS or Assembly, which are still being used by cruel and unjust instructors of the college degree Computer Science <cough>. This proposes a problem. Software engineers had to create a program from scratch at every company who had a computer, for even the simplest task. It is said the eventual cost of one program was up to three times the cost of the computer. IBM’s newer 650 was selling for a quarter of a million dollars (Three X quarter-of-a-million = WOW!). It almost put an entire end to computers. John Backus, while working for IBM in 1954, saved the day with the creation of Fortran (FORmula TRANslation), and then in 1959 when Grace Murray, and teams from many private industries and universities, created Cobol (COmmon Business Oriented Language). And in 1964, John George Kemeny and Thomas Eugene Kurtz created BASIC (Beginner's All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code), a language for the non-scientists or mathematician. Which meant the average business person could create a software program for their company.

From there, the computer industry exploded with much advancement. Cost of computers dropped, their cumbersome internal Vacuum Tubes replaced with IC Chips, Hard Drives created, and software writing companies blossomed. The home computer enthusiast would eventually create a demand for a small home computer, and from thereon, everyone... ...lived happily ever after. The End A Story about the Computer's Creation and how it got its Software IBM 29 Keypunch IBM Type 82 Sorter IBM Hollerith Type III Tabulator Dad! We must !! No way!! Grrr Grrr Grrr Grrr Grrr Porky and Daffy - Rocked Squad 1956 - UNIVAC clip Note the punch cards. This is for cartoons. ! | | | John Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation John John Nuts Punch Card Bills John John Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation Pay Sweet CBS Hello UNIVAC | 60 feet long and 30 feet wide The IBM 701 came in
eleven (11) pieces . . . We come in peace IBM IBM Retired? The IBM Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator ( SSEC) Ha Ha ... Accounting
The following... Programs?
What's that? Where do we get them? So, it just sits there?
Untill we write one?
Months!!! John $ $ $ Hel-lo A Stick-Figure Theater Story Book *Use small screen for slide-show effect | | commercial
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