Re: .. never used .. ?
"The next year the college upgraded to an Elliott 1603, with a massive 16k of RAM,"
Maybe you mean an ICL 1903 , because Elliotts never made a machine called a "1603".
36 posts • joined 4 Sep 2009
The Algol Plotter Package (Library Tape P104) was a precompiled tape which contained the output of pass one of the compiler (called Own Code) and various bits of compiler state. It was a binary dump of the Own Code so loaded faster than running pass one on the corresponding source code. Your source was then read in and its Own Code appended that already in store. Pass two then read the combined Own Code to produce the executable in core.
Back in the days of BSD4.3 Unix I was a post-grad student and I built a kernel for a VAX11/750 to try and debug poor NFS performance between the VAX and a IBM PC/AT that had an Enthernet card and ran NFS client software. Several years after I had graduated I got an email from the then sysadmin asking if I knew anything about all the debuging messages with my user name in them that had appeared on the console printer overnight ? And yes it was a proper printing terminal.
Seems my kernel had never been replaced with the original after I fixed the NFS issue in the PC software !
Just to clear up some misunderstandings. You are (and will) will still be able to view Colossus by visiting The National Museum of Computing rather than the Bletchley Park trust's site. Colossus gallery is open every day, the rest of TNMOC is open Thursday,Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
See http://www.tnmoc.org/visit for full details.
In the 1950s and 1960s Elliott Bros. used what was called "Magnetic Film" for the backing store on their 405 and 803 computers.
An 803 with three film handlers is shown here:
Operating handlers are show in the segment between 1:10 and 1:30 in this Pathe news reel:
Optional mass storage is available on an unusual magnetic tape system based on standard 35 mm film stock coated with iron oxide (manufactured by Kodak). At the time this was in use by the film industry to record sound tracks. Elliott's factory at Borehamwood was close to the Elstree film studios which explains the use of the 35mm sprocketed media. The 1000 foot reels held 4096 blocks of 64 words per block (4096 x 64 x 39 = 10,223,616 bits, or the equivalent of about 1.27Mbytes).
Although we have a Film Handler in good condition at The National Museum of Computing we don't have the cabinet full of logic boards (called the "Film Controler") needed to interface the handler to the 803 CPU.
Hi Chris! Sadly some of the details of the Elliott machines got a bit mixed up by El Reg's Journo ! Probably they were too excited by it all :-) I would trust your memory. There is a picture of the 803 in P4 hanging on the wall behind the 803 at TNMOC. Only yesterday I was running some HCODE programmes on the 803.
If all you want to do is visit the "geek-gasam inducing collection of computers", then you don't want to visit the Bletchley Park Trust as such as their tours cover the war time story (intersting as it is) but don't even include a visit to Colossus any more. What you want to do is visit "The National Museum of Computing" which is a separate museum located on the BP site.
" When a first generation computer is already running in Australia.. http://museumvictoria.com.au/csirac/"
According to Wikipedia "The machine finally found a permanent home in the Melbourne Museum in 2000. It has not been operable since its shutdown, but many of the programs that ran on it have been preserved, and an emulator has been written for it. "
No mention of it working on the museum web site either....
Decatrons are valves and they are gas filled.
The glow is around the Anode not the Cathode.
While the only thing they can do is to count, they do hold state equiv. to 3.3 bits. The state can be examined by applying 10 count pulses an watching for the carry output. So if the 7th anode is glowing the carry will come after three pulses. After the carry has pulsed, start pulsing the decatron in the adder until all 10 pulses have been applied. The adder will have moved on 7 positions and may have generated a carry. This is roughly the way the Witch adds decimal numbers together.
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