IBM 7090 and 1401

The IBM 709 system was replaced by an IBM 7090 Data Processing System in 1961.The solid state 7090 was six times faster than the 709. Although a general puprpose data processing system, it was designed with special attention to the needs of scientists and engineers in space and ballistic missile applications. For business, it was well suited to large-scale data processing applications such as inventory control, forecasting and general accounting. It sold for $2,898,000 and rented for $63,500 a month in a typical installation. It was, of course, free to WDPC.

The 7090's 32,768 words of magnetic core storage (each word with 36 bits) had a 2.18 microsecond access time. It could perform 229,000 additions or subtractions per second, 39,500 multiplications or 32,700 divisions. The system could read or write 3,000,000 bits of information per second. It had more than 200 operational instructions and direct program compatibility with the IBM 709, its predecsssor at WDPC.

The 7090 was well suited for Tele-processing where it would be the central processing unit of a network of decentralized input stations. So, for the first time, WDPC acquired Remote Data Transmission Equipment in the form of an IBM 026 Card Punch Receiving unit. I remember installing one of the 026s in the statistics laboratory in the newly completed GSM building. Over a telephone wire, data on punch cards could be transmitted to the main computer room and output received back on punch cards that were then interpreted to print the results in readable form at the top of the card. This was later enhanced with tape drives and complete computer system. (For more on this, see the Teleprocessing heading in the Hardware/Software Section.)

IBM 7090 Photo

Photo held in IBM Archives

IBM 1401

Auxiliary equipment was enhanced by the acquisition of an IBM 1401 Data Processing System, FORTRAN was still the primary user language.

Another IBM 1401

Another IBM1401 system was added in 1962 to provide auxiliary support in the form of peripheral input and output operations to the 7090, independent computing, and for control of the remote transmission system that was being tried and tested on an experimental basis with the thought that it might eventually be used to transmit data and programs between the Center and Participating Institutions.

IBM 1301 Disk Storage Unit

Four magnetic tape drives were removed from the 7090 and replaced by an IBM 1301 disk file. It had a storage capacity from 25 to 30 million characters.

IBM 1410

One of the IBM 1401 systems was replaced by a larger IBM 1410 system in 1963, primarily to control remote data transmission.

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