IBM Computer History and Stanford

floor 3 left

Related artifacts are exhibited at at Stanford's Historic Displays IBM 360 Computers on the third floor of the Gates Information Science building.

Information about Stanford IBM Computer systems.

Stanford Computation Center

At the time of the appearance of the IBM 360-series most computing was centralized and operated by the Stanford Computation Center, which consisted of three facilities: a `Campus facility', an operation at SLAC, with eventually an IBM 360-91, and a system, ACME, running a 360-50 dedicated to real-time computing in the Medical School. The organization was led by Professor Ed Feigenbaum of the newly formed Computer Science department. Much later Stanford Hospital obtained its own IBM 360-40.

Stanford Applied Physics Laboratory. IBM 7700, 1964?-1974?

Before there was SLAC, Stanford operated a linear accelerator in the Hansen Applied Physics lab, HEPL. That lab had a fairly large, but nearly unique IBM computer, an IBM 7700 data aquistion system. It was never brought into commercial production. That machine was available since March 1964, and was in use at Prof. Yearian's lab in 1970. In 1972 it ran the first version of Shower, important software for High Energy Physics. Any further information about is welcomed.

At IBM the successor for the 7700 was the IBM 1800, and one of those mchines was in use in the medical school ACME project in 1967.

Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC)

The first IBM 360-series machine to arrive at Stanford was installed late 1965 at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), on Sandhill Road. The 360 model 50, with 256K of memory was used for converting and developing analysis codes for future SLAC experiments. Prof. Bill Miller was scientifically in charge. He later became the provost of the University and president of SRI. Operations at SLAC were directed by Charles Dickens. Time on the machine was made available for development of other campus systems, as ACME.

In by 1974 (earlier?) an IBM 360 model 91 was delivered to SLAC and operated to 197y. It was upgraded in 197y to a model 360-195, which had the same architectural features as the subsequent IBM 370 series.

Important physics programs included ECS (Elecron-Gamma-Shower), PEGS (Pre-Processor for EGS), TESTSR (test Sampling Routines) [The EGS Code System, June 1978]. These programs were written in an extended FORTRAN language, MORTRAN ?, and translated to regulat FORTRAN by the MORTRAN2 Macro processor. (1975)

More to come.

Stanford Medical School: ACME

In the fall of 1966 Stanford Medical School abtained a 360-50 in an unusual configration for developpment of a dedicated support system for medical laboratories: The Advanced Computer for MEdical Research, ACME. The ACME project provided real-time data acquistion and control to research laboratories in the Stanford Medical School. It used a IBM 360-50 system as its main computer, an IBM 1800 for data acquisition and distribution, IBM 2701 interfaces for various laboratory computers, and a home-built network for terminals in the laboratories. More at the ACME webpages, with a Film clip to come.

The system was directed and designed by Gio Wiederhold. The software included an incremental compiler for PL/1, PL/ACME, extended with commands for real-time data-acquistion and control. ACME provided real-time data acquisition and control services in a time-shared setting. Lights added to the typewriter provided status information for the users. Classes for physicians and medical researchers on its use were given by Voy Wiederhold. More pictures from ACME being collected for display. Formal records have been deposited with NLM by Prof. Joshua Lederberg.

The Stanford University Campus Facility

The main Stanford University Campus Facility, eventually renamed ITSS, obtained an IBM 360-65, in early 1967 to augment and eventually replace its Burroughs 5500 system. Rod Frederickson was its manager. The 360-65 was the principal Campus Mainframe Computer for Stanford University from 1967 to 197x. Its successor mainframes were in use for many years at the Stanford Computation Center, the latest one disappeared on 15 December 2003.

Stanford's 360-65 was intended to be the 360-67 version, running a not yet completed IBM timesharing system, TSS. But TSS never reached its promised level of performance and was used only at few sites, and never at Stanford.
Ed Feigenbaum, director of the computation center at that time: true :"delivered as a 360/65, to be upgraded later"
EAF: I believe this to be the case. We had initially ordered a 67 but, when that was very late, we felt that we needed to "get going", so we ordered a 65 and did Orville and Wylbur software as a gap-filler. In fact, did we ever take delivery of a real 67? I don't know.

Jon Sandelin from Stanford:
**** When I arrived in May 1970, the machine had 3/4 megabyte, and an IBM imposed limit of one megabyte. My task was to bring it to the one megabyte limit. Latter, a company (not IBM) developed a way of going over one megabyte of main memory on the 360/65 series, and we did increase main memory by something like 1/2 megabyte more (do not remember the exact amount).
I recall Stanford hired Rod Fredrickson (from IBM) to implement the time-sharing option, but he left shortly after I arrived, as he apparently did not get along with the Computer Center Senior Management. Jim Moore would know the gory details.

Rod Frederickson had been before at UC Berkeley, heading the compution services for Prof. Sidney Lamb's Machine Translation Project in the early 1960's.


Information about the full range of Old IBM Iron.

Details about IBM computers are available at the IBM Archive site with an early (1964) Family Tree.

Early mainframes

The term "mainframe" is actually more recent than the beginnings of these computers. According to the Oxford English Dictionary the first use of "main frame" was in 1964, in a Honeywell Glossary, and the first use as a single word in 1974 was by the Scientific American magazine to distinguish the major computer in a laboratory from other computers.

Boldface models were used at Stanford

Vacuum tube mainframes

More information about this architecture.

models 701 (1952), 702 (1953), 704 (1954), 705 (1957), 709 (1957)

Transistorized Mainframes

models 7090 (1959)*, 7030 (1960), 7040 (1961), 7044 (1961), 7094 (1962)*,7094-II (1963).

IBM 360 Architecture Mainframes

IBM 360 series 1965 to 1977

models 22, 25, 30 (to 1970 only), 40, 44 (1965 to 1973 only), 50, 65, 67, 75, 85 (1969 to 1971 only), 91*, 95 (1968), 195 (1971).

IBM 9020 series 1974 to 1981

Special multi-computer installatation, as the 9020's for the FAA.

IBM 370 series 1972 to 1981

Models 115, 125, 135, 138, 145 (only 1971), 148 (1977 to 1983, 155, 158, 165, 168 (1972), 195 (to 1977).

IBM 390 series 1990 to 19xx

Rack-mounted 120,120, 150, 170

Aircooled models: 190, 210, 260, 320, 440, 480.

Enterprise Server, ES Gen 4, ES Gen 5, ES Gen 6, Multiprise 3000 Server.

Watercooled models: 330, 340, 500, 580, 620,720, 820, 800;
later the IBM 9000 Enterprise series with the 600 4-way, 990 - 6-way multiprocessor.

IBM 303x series 1980 to 19xx

3031, 3032, 3033, 3081, 3083, 3084, 3090.

IBM 43xx series 1980 to 19xx

4331, 4341, 4361, 4381 .

IBM eServer zSeries, 2000 to ...

(800, 900, 990), each with a various numbers of processors and memory sizes. One model is dedicated to Linux.

Data acquisition computers

SAGE, NORC military complexes.

Solid State

IBM 1130, 1800

Professor Michael J. Flynn

Michael Flynn received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1961. He joined IBM in 1955 and for ten years worked in the areas of computer organization and design. He was design manager of prototype versions of the IBM 7090 and 7094/II, and later for the System 360 Model 91 Central Processing Unit. Between 1966 and 1974 Prof. Flynn was a faculty member of Northwestern University and the Johns Hopkins University. In 1975 he became Professor of Electrical Engineering at Stanford University, and was Director of the Computer Systems Laboratory from 1977 to 1983. He was founding chairman of both the ACM Special Interest Group on Computer Architecture and the IEEE Computer Society's Technical Committee on Computer Architecture. Prof. Flynn was the 1992 recipient of the ACM/IEEE Eckert-Mauchley Award for his technical contributions to computer and digital systems architecture. He was the 1995 recipient of the IEEE-CS Harry Goode Memorial Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the design and classification of computer architecture. In 1998 he received the Tesla Medal from the International Tesla Society (Belgrade), and an honorary Doctor of Science from Trinity College (University of Dublin), Ireland. He is the author of three books and over 250 technical papers.
Flynn Forum Profile.

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