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This real-time information system began operating in the early s. System control was provided through the Atlas Supervisor, which some consider to be the first true operating system. The Control Data Corporation CDC performs up to 3 million instructions per second —three times faster than that of its closest competitor, the IBM supercomputer. The retained the distinction of being the fastest computer in the world until surpassed by its successor, the CDC , in Instead of designing a custom controller, two young engineers from Digital Equipment Corporation DEC -- Gordon Bell and Edson de Castro -- do something unusual: they develop a small, general purpose computer and program it to do the job.
A later version of that machine became the PDP-8, the first commercially successful minicomputer. Because of its speed, small size, and reasonable cost, the PDP-8 was sold by the thousands to manufacturing plants, small businesses, and scientific laboratories around the world. At the same press conference, IBM also announced 40 completely new peripherals for the new family.
Operational by , it was not the first computerized reservation system, but it was well publicized and became very influential. It was the world's first commercial bit minicomputer and systems were sold. This printing programmable calculator was made from discrete transistors and an acoustic delay-line memory. The Programma could do addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as calculate square roots.
It was developed as a versatile instrument controller for HP's growing family of programmable test and measurement products. It interfaced with a wide number of standard laboratory instruments, allowing customers to computerize their instrument systems.
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The A also marked HP's first use of integrated circuits in a commercial product. A year later, it steered Apollo 11 to the lunar surface. Astronauts communicated with the computer by punching two-digit codes into the display and keyboard unit DSKY. The AGC was one of the earliest uses of integrated circuits, and used core memory, as well as read-only magnetic rope memory. The astronauts were responsible for entering more than 10, commands into the AGC for each trip between Earth and the Moon. The Nova line of computers continued through the s, and influenced later systems like the Xerox Alto and Apple 1.
Designed by John V. Blankenbaker using standard medium-- and small-scale integrated circuits, the Kenbak-1 relied on switches for input and lights for output from its byte memory. In , after selling only 40 machines, Kenbak Corporation closed its doors. Initially designed for internal use by HP employees, co-founder Bill Hewlett issues a challenge to his engineers in fit all of the features of their desktop scientific calculator into a package small enough for his shirt pocket.
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They did. The HP helped HP become one of the most dominant companies in the handheld calculator market for more than two decades. The first advertisement for a microprocessor, the Intel , appears in Electronic News. Developed for Busicom, a Japanese calculator maker, the had transistors and could perform up to 90, operations per second in four-bit chunks. Federico Faggin led the design and Ted Hoff led the architecture. Under the direction of engineer Dr. Based on the Intel microprocessor, the Micral is one of the earliest commercial, non-kit personal computers.
Designer Thi Truong developed the computer while Philippe Kahn wrote the software. Truong, founder and president of the French company R2E, created the Micral as a replacement for minicomputers in situations that did not require high performance, such as process control and highway toll collection.
In , Truong sold R2E to Bull. Designed by Don Lancaster, the TV Typewriter is an easy-to-build kit that can display alphanumeric information on an ordinary television set. The original design included two memory boards and could generate and store characters as 16 lines of 32 characters. A cassette tape interface provided supplementary storage for text.
The TV Typewriter was used by many small television stations well in the s. Wang was a successful calculator manufacturer, then a successful word processor company.
The Wang makes it a successful computer company, too. Wang sold the primarily through Value Added Resellers, who added special software to solve specific customer problems. The first commercially advertised US computer based on a microprocessor the Intel , the Scelbi has 4 KB of internal memory and a cassette tape interface, as well as Teletype and oscilloscope interfaces. Scelbi aimed the 8H, available both in kit form and fully assembled, at scientific, electronic, and biological applications. In , Scelbi introduced the 8B version with 16 KB of memory for the business market.
The Alto is a groundbreaking computer with wide influence on the computer industry. It was based on a graphical user interface using windows, icons, and a mouse, and worked together with other Altos over a local area network.
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It could also share files and print out documents on an advanced Xerox laser printer. For its January issue, hobbyist magazine Popular Electronics runs a cover story of a new computer kit — the Altair Within weeks of its appearance, customers inundated its maker, MITS, with orders. Chuck Peddle leads a small team of former Motorola employees to build a low-cost microprocessor.
The and its progeny are still used today, usually in embedded applications. Southwest Technical Products is founded by Daniel Meyer as DEMCO in the s to provide a source for kit versions of projects published in electronics hobbyist magazines. Of the dozens of different SWTP kits available, the proved the most popular. Tailored for online transaction processing, the Tandem is one of the first commercial fault-tolerant computers.
The banking industry rushed to adopt the machine, built to run during repair or expansion. The Video Display Module VDM marks the first implementation of a memory-mapped alphanumeric video display for personal computers. Introduced at the Altair Convention in Albuquerque in March , the visual display module enabled the use of personal computers for interactive games. The fastest machine of its day, The Cray-1's speed comes partly from its shape, a "C," which reduces the length of wires and thus the time signals need to travel across them.
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High packaging density of integrated circuits and a novel Freon cooling system also contributed to its speed. Typical applications included US national defense work, including the design and simulation of nuclear weapons, and weather forecasting. Intel and Zilog introduced new microprocessors. Five times faster than its predecessor, the , the Intel could address four times as many bytes for a total of 64 kilobytes.
The Zilog Z could run any program written for the and included twice as many built-in machine instructions. Designed by Sunnyvale, California native Steve Wozniak, and marketed by his friend Steve Jobs, the Apple-1 is a single-board computer for hobbyists. With an order for 50 assembled systems from Mountain View, California computer store The Byte Shop in hand, the pair started a new company, naming it Apple Computer, Inc. In all, about of the boards were sold before Apple announced the follow-on Apple II a year later as a ready-to-use computer for consumers, a model which sold in the millions for nearly two decades.
When connected to a color television set, the Apple II produced brilliant color graphics for the time. Millions of Apple IIs were sold between and , making it one of the longest-lived lines of personal computers.
Apple gave away thousands of Apple IIs to school, giving a new generation their first access to personal computers. The TRS proved popular with schools, as well as for home use.
The TRS line of computers later included color, portable, and handheld versions before being discontinued in the early s. The first of several personal computers released in , the PET comes fully assembled with either 4 or 8 KB of memory, a built-in cassette tape drive, and a membrane keyboard. The PET was popular with schools and for use as a home computer. After the success of the PET, Commodore remained a major player in the personal computer market into the s.
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The success of the VAX family of computers transformed DEC into the second-largest computer company in the world, as VAX systems became the de facto standard computing system for industry, the sciences, engineering, and research. Shortly after delivery of the Atari VCS game console, Atari designs two microcomputers with game capabilities: the Model and Model The served primarily as a game console, while the was more of a home computer.
Atari's 8-bit computers were influential in the arts, especially in the emerging DemoScene culture of the s and '90s. The Motorola microprocessor exhibited a processing speed far greater than its contemporaries. This high performance processor found its place in powerful work stations intended for graphics-intensive programs common in engineering. Intended to be a less expensive alternative to the PET, the VIC was highly successful, becoming the first computer to sell more than a million units.
Commodore even used Star Trek television star William Shatner in advertisements. About 50, were sold in Britain, primarily to hobbyists, and initially there was a long waiting list for the system. The machine was expandable, with ports for cassette storage, serial interface and rudimentary networking. The DN is based on the Motorola microprocessor, high-resolution display and built-in networking - the three basic features of all workstations.
Apollo and its main competitor, Sun Microsystems, optimized their machines to run the computer-intensive graphics programs common in engineering and scientific applications. Apollo was a leading innovator in the workstation field for more than a decade, and was acquired by Hewlett-Packard in IBM's brand recognition, along with a massive marketing campaign, ignites the fast growth of the personal computer market with the announcement of its own personal computer PC. It featured a 5-inch display, 64 KB of memory, a modem, and two 5. Thousands of software titles were released over the lifespan of the C64 and by the time it was discontinued in , it had sold more than 22 million units.
It is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the greatest selling single computer of all time. Franklin was able to undercut Apple's pricing even while offering some features not available on the original. Sun Microsystems grows out of this prototype. Sun helped cement the model of a workstation having an Ethernet interface as well as high-resolution graphics and the UNIX operating system.
Lisa is the first commercial personal computer with a graphical user interface GUI. It was thus an important milestone in computing as soon Microsoft Windows and the Apple Macintosh would soon adopt the GUI as their user interface, making it the new paradigm for personal computing. The success of the Portable inspired many other early IBM-compatible computers. Compaq's success launched a market for IBM-compatible computers that by had achieved an percent share of the personal computer market. The Macintosh was the first successful mouse-driven computer with a graphical user interface and was based on the Motorola microprocessor.