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H200 vs. 1401 with S360

Penn Central RR computer system failure
In 1968 two once-powerful railroads, the New York Central and Pennsylvania, merged to become the Penn Central (along with the New Haven RR). Soon after their railroad freight train...

I would agree on the superiority of the hardware and software, but what eventualy end this machine in was its 24-bit word length and 6-bit character orientation and resulting limited address space. The 1900 series came out just as IBM transitioned from 1401 (6-bit char orientation) to 360 (8-bit char orientation) and paid the price for it in the long run.

I happen to know that Control Data took a very hard look at licensing the ICT 1900 as a successor to its 3000 series computers and very nearly decided to do so, but eventualy dropped the idea, mainly because of the 6-bit char issue. We even went so far as to design a 1900 successor - borrowing most of the architecture from the 1900 but making it a 4 by 8-bit word (i.e. a 32 bitter) instead of the 1900's 4 by 6-bit word. By the time we had enough of that on paper, the strategic decision was made to let the CDC "upper" and "lower" 3000 series machines die a natural and concentrate instead on Seymour Cray's 6000 series and "scientific computing". A pity because the 3800 survived for some 30 years in certain government "special applications" before other equipment could be found to take over the job successfully.

Penn Central RR computer system failure 2147
The computer systems were essentially efficient databases that kept track of car locations and waybill information, like who the shipper was, the car's weight, and where the...


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Penn Central RR computer system failure

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H200 vs. 1401 with S360