Computing Power in the UK R & D Sector

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Atlas Finally Gets an Upgrade: 1971

1971 4.0 8.0 12.0 16.0 20.0 24.0 28.0 32.0 36.0 40.0 Daresbury Rutherford Rest AEA Aldermaston Atlas Laboratory Universities Manchester London Edinburgh
Computing: 1971

Atlas Computer Laboratory

The Laboratory finally got an upgrade to its computer facilities with the arrival of a 1906A rated about twice the Atlas in power. The Science Research Council decided that it was no longer viable for the Laboratory to provide a top end service for all university academic work. Instead, it would implement a new policy that restricted work to research funded by the Research Councils. The attraction of the Atlas Laboratory service would be a guarantee of time on a regular basis unlike the situation in the university computing services where processing was more on a first-come first-served basis.

It was agreed that, even in this new role, the computing power needed by the Laboratory was of the order of 20-30 times the Atlas and that the vector processing capabilities of the CDC STAR would be attractive for many of the CPU intensive research applications.

Universities Get ICL 1906As Also

During the period 1971/72 there was also considerable increase in university computing power in general with many ICL 1900 Series being installed including 1906As at Oxford, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham and others. From this point on it is difficult to make any real attempt at estimating the total computer power in the universities as individual departments were acquiring substantial systems.

Rutherford Laboratory

Also in 1971, Rutherford took delivery of the IBM 360/195 rated about 10 times an Atlas in power and a direct competitor to the CDC 7600.

Manchester Regional Centre Orders ICL1906A-CDC7600

The Manchester Regional Computer Centre started in 1969 running a service based on an ICL1905F (about 0.3 of an Atlas).

In 1971, Gordon Black the Director announced that the 1905F would be replaced by a CDC 7600 not front-ended by another CDC system as was usual but, instead, an ICL 1906A. At the time the National Centre was using space at UMIST. A new building was to be constructed ready for the delivery if the system in 1973.

Harwell Install 370/165

For a short period, Harwell has the largest facility on the Chilton site with the purchase of an IBM 370/165.