Made by Victor and Ellen Landweber, this film was made just before the moment that home computing became widespread. The film is filled with imagery of early computers, and also presents the concept of the "counting machine" starting with the abacus and moving through history to the mechanical computer (1:50). Charles Babbage's counting machine is shown at 2:12. At 2:32, integrated circuits are presented and electronic circuits described. Basic concepts such as Input, Storage, Control, Arithmetic and Output are described next. Various components are seen including punch cards at 3:50, magnetic data tape at 4:20, and magnetic discs at 4:25. At 4:46 an early pen tablet is seen in use. At 6:00 a dot matrix type printer is seen at work and at 6:20 a teletype. Early monitors are shown at 6:20. At 7:20 binary number systems are seen in use on a computer's display. At 7:40, a man is seen typing instructions into a computer. At 8:20, computers are seen in a high school that is equipped with a computer controlled by punch cards. At 8:57 an IBM 1800 computer is shown being used to control a chemical plant. At 9:30 a mission control or ground station for a satellite is shown. At 9:48, more punch cards are seen keeping tabs on credit card and bank accounts. Section of this film were created at the Rand Corporation in Santa Monica, California.
The IBM 1800 Data Acquisition and Control System (DACS) was a process control variant of the IBM 1130 with two extra instructions (CMP and DCM), extra I/O capabilities, 'selector channel like' cycle-stealing capability and three hardware index registers. IBM announced and introduced the 1800 Data Acquisition and Control System on November 30, 1964, describing it as "a computer that can monitor an assembly line, control a steel-making process or analyze the precise status of a missile during test firing.".
Unlike the 1130, which was a desk-like unit, the 1800 is packaged in 6 foot high, EIA Standard 19 inch racks, which are somewhat taller than the racks used by S/360 systems of the same vintage, but the internal gates and power supplies were very much the same. Many 1800 cabinets show a distinct "ding" on the vents at the top of the chassis, where movers discovered that the door into a computer room was not quite tall enough for the 1800 cabinet.
The IBM 1500 instructional system was introduced by IBM on March 31, 1966, and was based on an IBM 1130 or IBM 1800 computer. It supported up to 32 student work stations, each with a variety of audiovisual capabilities.
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