computer graphics in the 1950s
hilpert at cs.ubc.ca
Thu Oct 16 19:53:13 CDT 2008
Chuck Guzis wrote:
> If you're really curious, why not drop Carl Machover a line:
> Carl's been giving historical presentations to ACM SIGGRAPH for
> donkey's years.
> But I'll bet he'll say Whirlwind.
If the question is what is the first CRT-based device *intended for use as* a
programmed-output graphic display for attachment to a digital computer, I'd
bet on Whirlwind too.
If you want to answer the question of whether or not it predated the SAGE
involvement/objectives, the following book may help:
Project Whirlwind: The History of a Pioneer Computer
Kent C. Redmond and Thomas M. Smith
1980 Digital Press, DEC
TK 7889 W47 R43
It's a fairly detailed chronological rendition of the Whirlwind project,
although weighted more to the political/administrative/funding side than the
technical side. (If I were near the university I'd be pulling it off the shelf
now to check.)
While Whirlwind started out with a very different objective (aircraft flight
trainer/simulator) than SAGE, that flight simulator objective and it's
real-time processing objectives would suggest that a 'live action' CRT display
device may well have been imagined and produced before the SAGE involvement.
If the question is what is the first use of a CRT-based device as a
programmed-output graphic display from a digital computer, I'd still guess at
creative use of storage-tube-based-processor memory monitors.
Various entries in the Manchester Baby 50th anniversary programming contest
used the memory monitor for drawing coarse graphs and animations (executable
and viewable in the Baby simulators), showing it could be done, but, needless to
say, they aren't proof of historic use as such.
Another line of inquiry might be to ask the Manchester Baby people whether
they know of any period/historic use of the memory monitors as such.
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