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AN/FSQ-7: the computer that shaped the Cold War

Book Description

One of the most impressive computer systems ever was the vacuum tube based behemoth AN/FSQ-7, which was the heart of the ''Semi Automatic Ground Environment''. Machines of this type were children of the Cold War and had a tremendous effect in politics. They also generated a vast amount of spin-offs which still shape our world. This book focuses on the technological achievements and details of this marvelous machine and of its predecessor Whirlwind. The various developments, ranging from magnetic core memory to data transmission via telephone lines, are covered in detail with schematics, circuit descriptions and small programming examples.
This book is a treasure trove for those interested in the technology of early digital computers and those interested in the impact these machines had and still have on our current computer systems.

Table of Contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Copyright Page
  3. Dedication
  4. Acknowledgments
  5. Table of Contents
  6. 1 Introduction
  7. 2 Setting the stage
    1. 2.1 Computers until 1945
    2. 2.2 Basics of vacuum tube circuits
    3. 2.3 Toward Whirlwind and beyond
  8. 3 Whirlwind
    1. 3.1 Basic architecture
      1. 3.1.1 Arithmetic element
      2. 3.1.2 Control
    2. 3.2 Storage
      1. 3.2.1 The MIT Storage Tube
      2. 3.2.2 Magnetic core storage
    3. 3.3 Magnetic drums
    4. 3.4 Magnetic tapes
    5. 3.5 Paper tape readers, punches and typewriters
    6. 3.6 Data transmission
    7. 3.7 Oscilloscope displays and light guns
    8. 3.8 Time register
    9. 3.9 Reliability, power supplies and marginal checking
    10. 3.10 Programming
    11. 3.11 The end of Whirlwind
  9. 4 SAGE
    1. 4.1 The Cape Cod system
    2. 4.2 SAGE and AN/FSQ-7
    3. 4.3 Control and direction centers
    4. 4.4 AN/FSQ-7 overview
  10. 5 Basic circuitry
    1. 5.1 Introduction
    2. 5.2 Cathode follower
    3. 5.3 Pulse amplifier
    4. 5.4 Register driver
    5. 5.5 Relay drivers
    6. 5.6 Level setter
    7. 5.7 Diode AND and OR circuits
    8. 5.8 Gate tube circuit
    9. 5.9 DC inverter
    10. 5.10 Flip-flops
    11. 5.11 Single-shots
    12. 5.12 Pulse generators
    13. 5.13 Delay lines and delay line drivers
    14. 5.14 Special circuits
    15. 5.15 Pluggable units
    16. 5.16 The FETRON
    17. 5.17 Troubleshooting
  11. 6 Central processor
    1. 6.1 Memory element
    2. 6.2 Instruction control element
    3. 6.3 Selection and IO control element
    4. 6.4 Program element
    5. 6.5 Arithmetic element
  12. 7 Drum system
    1. 7.1 Magnetic drums
    2. 7.2 Timing
    3. 7.3 Status concept and time stamps
    4. 7.4 Data flows
  13. 8 Input/output system
    1. 8.1 Input system
      1. 8.1.1 LRI element
      2. 8.1.2 GFI element
      3. 8.1.3 XTL element
      4. 8.1.4 TPG
    2. 8.2 Manual data input element
    3. 8.3 Output system
    4. 8.4 Alarms and warning lights
    5. 8.5 Tape drives and card machines
  14. 9 Display system
    1. 9.1 Situation display
    2. 9.2 Light gun
    3. 9.3 Area discriminators
    4. 9.4 Digital display
    5. 9.5 Photographic recorder-reproducer element
  15. 10 Machine consoles
  16. 11 Power supply
    1. 11.1 The powerhouse
    2. 11.2 Regulated power supplies
    3. 11.3 Power distribution
    4. 11.4 Marginal checking system
  17. 12 Programming
    1. 12.1 Instruction format
    2. 12.2 Instruction set
      1. 12.2.1 Miscellaneous class
      2. 12.2.2 Add class
      3. 12.2.3 Multiply class
      4. 12.2.4 Store class
      5. 12.2.5 Shift class
      6. 12.2.6 Branch class
      7. 12.2.7 Input/output class
      8. 12.2.8 Reset class
    3. 12.3 Indexed addressing
    4. 12.4 Subroutines
    5. 12.5 Examples
      1. 12.5.1 Polynomial evaluation
      2. 12.5.2 Coordinate transformation
      3. 12.5.3 Finding the largest number
      4. 12.5.4 Adding ten numbers
      5. 12.5.5 Delaying
      6. 12.5.6 Printing
      7. 12.5.7 Trick programs
  18. 13 Software
    1. 13.1 Software development process
    2. 13.2 Operational software
  19. 14 Failure or Success?
    1. 14.1 A failure?
    2. 14.2 Success!
      1. 14.2.1 Hardware
      2. 14.2.2 Graphics
      3. 14.2.3 Software
      4. 14.2.4 ATC and SABRE
      5. 14.2.5 SAGE in popular culture
  20. 15 Epilogue
  21. A Whirlwind instruction set
  22. B Programming cards
  23. Bibliography
  24. Acronyms
  25. Index