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  • Description of document: Department of Defense history: History of NSA [National Security Agency] General-Purpose Electronic Digital Computers, Samuel S. Snyder, 1964

    Requested date: June 2009 Released date: June 2009 Posted date: 17-May-2010 Title of document History of NSA General-Purpose Electronic Digital

    Computers Date/date range of document: Addresses computer systems prior to 01-January-1964 Source of document: National Security Agency

    Declassification Services (DJ5) Suite 6884, Bldg. SAB2 9800 Savage Road Ft. George G. Meade, MD, 20755-6884

    Note: Originally released under NSA FOIA 41023, 2/9/2004

    Requested and re-released under Mandatory Declassification Review in June 2009

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    Jimmy Typewritten Text

  • '1'. .~. _. ,

    HISTORY OF NSA GENERAL-PURPOSE

    ELECTRONIC DIGITAL COMPUTERS

    1964

    'lppro\/ed Fe;( F~elea~=;6 b~l r\I~3A, or J2-0D-2004 FIJI/\. C;:I':,(:' # 41 02~_

  • HISTORY OF

    NSA GENERAL-PURPOSE

    ELECTRONIC DIGITAL COMPUTERS

    By

    Samuel S. Snyder

    1964

    Department of Defense Washington, D. C. 20301

    -FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY

  • r

    PREFACE

    The author has attempted to write this material so that it will be easily understood by those who have had only limited experience with computers. To aid those readers, several terms and concepts have been defined, and Chapter 1 includes a brief discussion of principles of computer operation, programming, data-preparation prob- lems, and automatic programming. Engineering terminology has been held to a minimum, and the history of programmer training, personnel and organizational growth, and-the like has not been treated. To some small extent, the comments on operational utility bring out the very real usefulness of computers for the solution of data-processing problems.

    The cutoff date for eveift:s-·-related -he-re---was-the end of December 1963.

    s.s.s.

    ii

  • 'Description Page

    TABLE OF CONTF.NTS

    CHAPTER 1 -- BACKGROUND

    iii

    - ·6: - - - - - - - - - - 65

    66 - - - - - - - - - 66

    67 67

    - - - - - - - 71 71 76

    Punched Card Equipment and the Computer - - - 1 Computers in NSA - - - - - - - - - - 2 Computer Principles - - - - - - - - - - - - - 2 Programming Principles - - - - - - - - - 4 Data Preparation - - - - - - - - - - 4 Automatic Programming - - - - - - - - - - - - 4 Special-Purpose Attachments - - - - - - - e Impact of NSA on Commercial Computer Developments 6

    CHAPTER 2 -- AGENCY-SPONSORED COMPUTERS ATLAS I and ABEL - - - - 8 ATLAS II - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 13 ABNER and BAKER - - - - - - - - - 14 NOMAD - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 28 SOLO - - - - - - - - - - - - 29 BOGART - - - - - - - - - - - 31 CUB - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 36 UNIVAC l224A (CRISPI) - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 36 HARVEST - - - - - - - - - - - - - .39

    HARVEST Modes of Operation - - - - 46 __ Ar.i-thmetic .Mode·- - - - - - - - -" - - .. - - .4-6--"

    Streaming Mode - - - - - - - - - - - - 55 Indexing and Setup - - - - - - - - .58 Streaming Instructions - - - - - - S9 Adjustments - - - - - - - - - - 59 Special Memory Features - - - - - - - - 59

    TRACTOR - - - - - - - - - - - -' - .60 HARVEST Operational System (HOPS) - - - - - - ~l

    International Business Machines Corporation IBM-701 IBM-702 IBM-70S IBM-704 - - - - IBM-650 - - - - - - IBM-1401 - - - - - - - - - - IBM-1410 IBM-7090 -

    CHAPTER 3 -- COMMERCIAL COMPUTERS

  • - TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Table 1. Chronological Listing - - - - - - - - - 93 " 2. ATLAS I Instruction Code - - - - - - 96 II 3. U. S. Electronic Computer Activity " in 1947 - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 97 " 4. ABNER Instruction Code - - - - - - - 98

    References - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 99

    Page

    - - - - - 85 88 89

    tiA

    Page

    - - - - - - 76 - - - - - - - 76

    - - - - - - 78 - - - - - - - - 78

    82

    4& i@

    Description

    -.---- _.--._-- 'fLl:':USTRATx"ONS

    ¥B

    (CONTINUED)

    Description

    General Precision, Inc. - - - LGP-30 - - - - - - -

    Control Data Corporation - - - - CDC-1604 - - - - - - - - - - - CDC-l60A - - - - - - -

    CHAPTER 4 -- REMOTE-OPERATED COMPUTERS

    1 Block Diagram of Digital Computer - - - - 3 2 Typical Problem Flow Chart - - - - - - 5 3 ATLAS I Console - - - - - - - - - 9 4 ATLAS I Main Frame, with Input Tape

    Reader in Foreground,. Console in Back 9 5 ABEL - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 11 . 6 ATLAS II Main Frame (Partial View) - - - - 15 7 ATLAS II Console - - - - - - - - - - - - - 15 8 ATLAS II Input-Output - - - - - - 16 9 Mercury Delay Line (Diagrammatic) 18

    10 ABNER (1) Memory Cabinet - - - - - - - 20 11 ABNER (1) Console Panel - - - - - - - - - 24 12 ABNER (2) Console - - - - - - - - - - - - 25 13 ~_. (2) Raytheon Tape Drives 25 14 ABNER (2) Main Frame - - - - - 26

    ROGUE (ALWAC IIIE) - - - ROB ROY (BOGART) - - - - - RYE (UNIVAC 490) - - - - - - -

    APPENDIX

    Figure

    iv

  • v

    15 BAKER - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 26 16 SOLO - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 32 17 BOGART Console, with IBM 727 Tape Drives - 34 18 BOGART, Serial 2 - - - - - - - - - - - - - 35 19 CUB - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - 37 20 Partial View of CRISPI, Showing Paper-Tape

    Input, UNIVAC 1224A, and liB" Console - - - 37 21 HARVEST System Block Diagram - - - - - - - 44 22 HARVEST Operator's Console, Showing IBM

    1403 Line Printer, Right Background - - - 47 23 HARVEST Operating Area, General View,

    Showing TRACTOR in Left Background - - - 48 24 HARVEST Maintenance and Engineering Con-

    soles: Arithmetic and Logic Unit (left) Streaming Unit (right) - - - - - - 49

    25 HARVEST -- The 16 Frames of the Central processing unit - - - - - - - - - - - - - 50

    26 HARVEST Tape Control Units and Tape Drives 51 27 HARVEST -- The 6 Large Memories - - - - - 52 28 HARVEST -- One unit of the Fast Memory - - 53 29 HARVEST -- TRACTOR Cartridge Handler - - - 54 30 HARVEST Streaming Data Paths - - - - - - - 56 31 IBM-70S, Showing SINBAD Control Panel at

    Right of 705 Console - - - - - - - 68 32 IBM-70S Core Memory - - - - - - - - - - - 69 33 IBM-704 - - - - - - - - - - - - - 70 34 IBM-704 Core-·Memory-·.·--------· - - - 70 35 IBM-6S0 General View - - - - - - - - - - - 72 36 IBM-GSO Console - - - - - - - - - 72 37 IBM-GSO Disk Storage - - - - - - - - - 73 38 IBM-6S0 Inquiry Station - - - - - 74 39 IBM-140l - - - - - - - - - - - 75 40 IBM-7090 Console - 77 41 LGP-30 - - - - - - - - 79 42 WELCHER - - - - - 80 43 CDC-1604 - - - - - - - - - 81 44 Control Data l60-A Computer - 83 45 ALWAC IIIE - - - - - - - - - - - - 87 46 ROB ROY Outstation - - - - - - - - - - - - 90 47 ROB ROY Control Panel - - - - - - - - - - 90 48 UNIVAC 490 {RYE} General View - - - - 91

    Illustrations (continued)

    PageDescriptionFigure

  • Punched-card equipment -- keypunch, reproducer, sorter, ---co"llator, and tabulator -- were the forerUni'ferS-b-~the--elec­

    tronic computer in every respect excepting speed and automatic operation." This is true because of the use of the punched-card as a unit record, flexibility of plugboard together with switch- ing capabilities in each machine, and versatility ~nherent in successive card passes through different equipments. The fol- lowing types of data analyses could be done using punched-card equipments:

    CHAPTER 1 BACKGROUND

    The general-purpose computer logically corresponds to punched-card equipment in that a variety of elementary opera- tions (the order code) can be combined in a variety of ways

    1

    ~'"..~

    expanding, reprOducing (Reproducer) distributing, sorting (Sorter) merging, selecting (Collator) counting, printing (Tabulator)

    The extraordinary versatility and efficiency of elec- tronic computers have made them useful in handling almost every class of data-processing and analytic problem. From this point of view and in this respect, at NSA, punched-card equipment -- keypunch, reproducer, sorter, collator, and tabulator -- could be called the forerunners of the electronic computer.

    For the 15 years beginning about 1935, NSA's predeces- sors used punched-card equipment to attack wider and wider ranges of problems. During this time many special-purpose machines were also built, including some designed as attach- ments to punched-card equipment. The USe of punched~card equipments as general-purpose tools continued to grow until, by