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As best as I can determine, it was around fifty years ago, within a week or so, that I wrote my first computer program, directing my life's trajectory onto the slippery slope which ended in my present ignominy. This provides an opportunity for reflection on how computing has changed in the past half century, which is arguably a technological transition unprecedented in the human experience. But more about that later. First, let me say a few words about the computer on which I ran that program, the Univac 1107 at Case Institute of Technology, in the fall of 1967.

In the 1960s, the Univac® 1107 provided the main computing facility for Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland Ohio in the United States. Operated by the Andrew R. Jennings Computing Center, the “Seven” enticed a generation into the world of computing and, with the innovative “fast turnaround batch,” “open shop” access pioneered at Case, provided a standard of service to a large community of users almost unheard of at the time. The Case 1107 was immortalised by being included by Case alumnus Donald Knuth in the calculation of the decimal representation of the MIX 1009 computer in The Art of Computer Programming.

In the view above, we see the system console at the right, in front of the bank of UNISERVO™ II-A tape drives. The rounded cabinet at the very left of the frame is part of the TRW 530 “Logram computer”, which was used primarily to convert tapes between UNISERVO II-A 200 BPI format and the 800 BPI IBM-compatible format used by the UNISERVO VIII-C drives on the 1108 at Chi Corporation.

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Category: Science