x'2B' (43): How computers have changed since 1968 [at Durham University]

posted Apr 2, 2019, 8:22 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Apr 3, 2019, 1:16 AM ]

The following article appeared in the January 2005 issue of ITS News from Durham University.

See: https://www.dur.ac.uk/cis/news/archive/issues/january2005/complete/

How computers have changed since 1968

Picture of computer at Durham in 1968

We recently unearthed a short publication from 1968, which described the inauguration of N.U.M.A.C. The Northumbrian Universities Multiple Access Computer (N.U.M.A.C.) was the name given to a system installed to serve computing needs of the Universities of Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne.
N.U.M.A.C. was hailed as the first computing system in the UK to be jointly owned and operated by two universities. Such co-operation enabled a much more powerful system to be made available than could have been purchased by either University acting alone.

"The computer chosen was the IBM system 360, Model 67. Situated in the University of Newcastle upon Tyne Computing Laboratory are the central processor unit, the core store of 512 K bytes, a drum of 4 million bytes, a multiple disc unit capable of holding 233 million bytes available for access on eight replaceable discs, magnetic tape drives, appropriate selector and multiplexor channels controlling the flow of information and peripheral devices including printing, card and paper tape equipment and graph plotters.

A small on-line satellite computer, the IBM 1130, also with printer, plotter, card and paper equipment, has been placed in Durham. Typewriter terminals have been installed in both Durham and Newcastle. A wide range of data preparation equipment for both cards and tape is available in both Universities.

When the Model 67 is operated in time-sharing mode, several users in Newcastle and Durham will be working simultaneously at typewriter terminals under the experimental time-sharing system TSS/360. The users will be able to employ a conversational approach, entering modifications to programs or data through the keyboard and receiving information from the typed output. Initially six terminals in the Newcastle laboratory and two in Durham will be connected, followed shortly by five more at different places in Newcastle and Durham......

The majority of the demand on the computing system will arise from research workers in science, engineering and medicine, although workers, especially in the bibliographic and social science fields, will make substantial demands. Although the needs for computer time for each student example are slight, the numbers involved produce an apppreciable demand from this source also.'

(29 Jan 2005)