High-Speed Computing Devices

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Mit Press, 1984 - Computers - 493 pages
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This is the definitive modern sourcebook on the technologies from which the computer industry sprang. Widely read, it gave impetus to technical developments both in the United States and abroad. It presents a clear, organized picture of computing concepts, techniques, machinery, and components in use as of 1950, with emphasis on electronic high-speed computing. The material is elaborately referenced and contains a multitude of diagrams and tables. One particularly significant table lists all the computers of the era-including the famous EDVAC, UNIVAC, BINAC, and Mark III-with their specifications. This first compendium of United States computer technology was created by a research team that grew out of the U.S. Navy's wartime cryptologic establishment. High-Speed Computing Devices is Volume IV in the Charles Babbage Institute Reprint Series and was originally published in 1950 by McGraw-Hill.

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The section, Transducers, is referenced in US Patent No. 2,719,965 Magnetic memory matrix writing system, filed Jun 1954, by Person, assignor to RCA for “storage of bits of information .. made by using toroidal cores of magnetic material having substantially rectangular hysteresis loops." The reference is particularly relevant today, with increasing reliance on mixed-signals and inherent 'delay', e.g., "The delay line may consist of any well-known electrical delay line structure such as described commencing with page 342." 

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This book began as a report written for the Office of Naval Research. The Navy supplied mimeographed reports from all the current computer development activity. It was begun by several writers and finished by William W. Butler under the direction of Dr. Tommy Tompkins, a major contributor.
It was later published by McGraw Hill and was the first book of its kind. Several people have told me that it provided their entry into the computer world. Bill Butler, June 2014.


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