The Univac Solid State Computer 90

( The computer you are using now probably is performing about one million times more powerfull as the computer on this picture !)

Forty-six years ago !

It's a big honour for this computer
that it is described now in the beautifil
book of Stephen Kaisler about
the history of computing

This is our story about our USSC90.

The Univac Solid State Computer was equipped with a printer and with 90-columns punch-card devices. There was no operating-system. There was only a binary display of 50 lamps, only 3 data-registers, only a main memory of 50 KByte for programs and data. It ran at a clock-speed of 700 Kc/s with an internal data-flow of 4 bits parallel. The computer executed programs with a maximum speed of 4000 instructions/second and read data from punched-cards with 900 Bytes/second. For a data-file of 450 KBytes one needed a one meter high pile of punched cards. There was no file-handler or some kind of database, neither was there a fixed data-structure or protection for data-integrity. For each 'run' the stacks of data-cards had to be sorted or to be merged. Even though in 1970 in scrap its value was higher then as a computer, we were glad to receive this USSC90, donated to us by the Holland America Line. In our education, we were proud to work with single AND and OR ports on our tables, entering the digital world bit by bit. That made this computer for us a wonder of modern times. This machine was the last USSC operating in The Netherlands, it weighted about 1600 Kilo's and consumed fifteen Kilowatts. We repaired it, we programmed it and we tried to operate it. It broke down hundreds of times. But we adored it ! In 1971 computers were still rare and extremely costly. Till 1977 we kept it working, but then too many hardware-failures were occurring and we had to stop this project. But now with our story disappearing behind the one-million-factor-line, I like to tell you about our good old USSC90. I did the project together with Rob Weemhoff at 'De Christiaan Huygensschool' in Rotterdam where we both studied electronics. The teacher supervising us was mr. Huib Merison.

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