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'[OT] Historical Computer Triva'
2005\05\24@161544 by Bob Ammerman

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What successful computer system used decimal arithmetic with numbers
represented in biquinary?

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

2005\05\24@162602 by Dave VanHorn

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At 03:11 PM 5/24/2005, Bob Ammerman wrote:
>What successful computer system used decimal arithmetic with numbers
>represented in biquinary?

After the abacus?

2005\05\24@171121 by Robert Young

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> -----Original Message-----
> From: spam_OUTpiclist-bouncesTakeThisOuTspammit.edu
> [.....piclist-bouncesKILLspamspam@spam@mit.edu] On Behalf Of Bob Ammerman
> Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 3:12 PM
> To: Microcontroller discussion list - Public.
> Subject: [OT] Historical Computer Triva
>
>
> What successful computer system used decimal arithmetic with numbers
> represented in biquinary?
>
> Bob Ammerman
> RAm Systems
>

IBM mainframe, 600 or 650 or something like that.

2005\05\24@200228 by Bob Ammerman

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Dave,

Very good answer, but what I was looking for was a little newer than that.

Bob Ammerman

----- Original Message -----
From: "Dave VanHorn" <dvanhornspamKILLspamdvanhorn.org>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <.....piclistKILLspamspam.....MIT.EDU>;
"Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <EraseMEpiclistspam_OUTspamTakeThisOuTMIT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2005 4:26 PM
Subject: Re: [OT] Historical Computer Triva


> At 03:11 PM 5/24/2005, Bob Ammerman wrote:
>>What successful computer system used decimal arithmetic with numbers
>>represented in biquinary?
>
> After the abacus?
>
> --

2005\05\25@075412 by Jake Anderson

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larc?

{Quote hidden}

2005\05\25@075820 by Peter Onion

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On Tue, 2005-05-24 at 16:11 -0400, Bob Ammerman wrote:
> What successful computer system used decimal arithmetic with numbers
> represented in biquinary?


Look at the hardware description on this page....
http://www.highersystems.co.uk/Leo_3.html


One feature that was was unusual (if not unique) was the ability to do
arithmetic in different bases, not just decimal or binary(hexadecimal)
but in Pounds,shillings and pence (&#163;.s.d) or pounds and ounces. This was
achieved by having an 'excess digits'(?) register containing a constant
that was added/subtracted(if no carry) to each word before/after 'hex'
arithmetic was carried out. For example decimal arithmetic used '66666'
so that 9+1(+6) = '10' (hex). '&#163;sd'  used  '6614 6 4' (I think?) to
provide for  pence (1 digit 0-11), shillings (two digits 0-19). At that
time the usage of A-F for 10 to 15 was not known and we used character
such as '&#163;', '#', for 12 to 15 ( there were special '10' and '11'
characters to hold 'old pence').

Peter Onion

2005\05\25@094920 by Bob Ammerman

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> At 03:11 PM 5/24/2005, Bob Ammerman wrote:
>What successful computer system used decimal arithmetic with numbers
>represented in biquinary?

The answer I was looking for was the IBM 650. This was one of the first
highly successful computers to be developed by IBM, and is considered by
many to have been the first 'personal' computer.

In additional to its unusual way of displaying decimal digits, it had a
couple of very interesting characteristics...

- Initially all input and output had to be via punched cards or magnetic
tape. If you wanted a printed report it had to be generated by an offline
tape-to-printer or card-to-printer device.

- Its main storage consisted of a rotating drum with 20000 addressable
10-digit (?) words of memory.

- Instructions were not executed sequentially. Rather each instruction
contained the address of the next instruction to be executed. In effect,
each instruction was a 'jump' instruction as well as its ordinary function.

- By carefully placing instructions around the drum you could time things so
that the next instruction would be under the read head just as the previous
instruction finished executing.

- Eventually some smart programmer realized that the computer itself could
do the job of optimizing the placement of instructions and so was born SOAP,
the Symbolic Optimal  Assembly Program.

- However, some 'real programmers' wouldn't use SOAP because they felt they
could do a better job hand-optimizing the code.

Some things never change ;-)


Truly a fascinating machine.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems



----- Original Message -----
From: "Jake Anderson" <TakeThisOuTgrooveeeEraseMEspamspam_OUToptushome.com.au>
To: "Microcontroller discussion list - Public." <RemoveMEpiclistspamTakeThisOuTmit.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, May 25, 2005 7:54 AM
Subject: RE: [OT] Historical Computer Triva


> larc?
>
>> {Original Message removed}

2005\05\25@100427 by Bob Ammerman

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quick correction: 2000 words, not 20000 words on the IBM 650.

Also an interesting note: the IBM 650 is the machine on which Donald Knuth
got his start.

Bob Ammerman
RAm Systems

2005\05\25@112656 by John Colonias

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Bob,

Earlier than the IBM 650, the Burroughs 205 used the same principle.
Words were recorded (20 of them on each band) on a drum, and with
careful programming you could accomplish the same thing you mentioned. I
worked on them for a long time (1959-64) and wrote some very complicated
chemical equilibrium programs totally in machine language!

John

{Original Message removed}

2005\05\25@125816 by Peter

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On Tue, 24 May 2005, Bob Ammerman wrote:

> What successful computer system used decimal arithmetic with numbers
> represented in biquinary?

Certain phone exchanges ? Also:

http://www.castalk.com/ftopic4563.html

Peter

2005\05\25@130355 by Bradley Ferguson

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On 5/25/05, Bob Ammerman <rammermanEraseMEspam.....verizon.net> wrote:
> - Instructions were not executed sequentially. Rather each instruction
> contained the address of the next instruction to be executed. In effect,
> each instruction was a 'jump' instruction as well as its ordinary function.
>
> - By carefully placing instructions around the drum you could time things so
> that the next instruction would be under the read head just as the previous
> instruction finished executing.
>
> - Eventually some smart programmer realized that the computer itself could
> do the job of optimizing the placement of instructions and so was born SOAP,
> the Symbolic Optimal  Assembly Program.
>
> - However, some 'real programmers' wouldn't use SOAP because they felt they
> could do a better job hand-optimizing the code.

ObStoryOfMel: http://www.drbbs.com/jsw/jargon/jargon_49.html

Bradley

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