Interested in UNIVAC 9000 Series (and IBM 360)

Jon Elson elson at
Sat Nov 19 11:49:49 CST 2016

On 11/18/2016 10:17 PM, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> On 11/18/2016 07:59 PM, Jon Elson wrote:
>> Yes, I think it had to, as it had no adder.  Had to be
>> incomprehensibly slow.  I guess it would load the memory to an
>> internal register a piece at a time.
> The last time I dug around a bit for model 20 software, I was surprised
> to find that there was not only a FORTRAN, but a PL/I and a COBOL
> written for the thing.
> By and large, the only applications that I ever saw were RPG.  I can't
> begin to imagine how slow a COBOL would be, much less a PL/I.
PL/I ??  No, I really can't believe it!  Was this a 
cross-compiler? Remember, MANY /20s had 4K memory and no 
disk.  There also was no OS, so no file system support.  I 
can imagine a cross-compiler being of some use, as small 
programs ought to work OK.  The only sensible reason for 
FORTRAN would be scientific computing, and since the /20 had 
no floating point, I can barely imagine how slow a double 
precision FP multiply would be.  I would have to guess close 
to a second!  I think a Monroematic calculator could give it 
good competition, and some of the early programmable 
calculators (Wang and such) could almost certainly outdo it.

I'd rather be hitting myself on the head with a hammer than 
try to do serious computing on a 360/20.
It makes even a PDP-8 look like a real workhorse.


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