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

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3 Whirlwind

Whirlwind was huge – even compared with other computers of its time – and Whirlwind was expensive, more expensive than most other machines built in the late 1940s and early 1950s. ENIAC, for example, had cost about $ 600,000, Hurricane – a Raytheon development – came with a price tag of $ 460,000, the famous IAS computer cost $ 650,000 etc. Whirlwind was of another class: The overall project amounted to $ 4,500,000 – more than a small fortune back in the 1950s.92 From today’s perspective this money was well invested given all the direct and indirect spin-offs of Whirlwind and its successor, as will be seen in later sections. Nevertheless, back in Whirlwind’s days there was quite some argument that its development was “out of proportion ...

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