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Evolution of Rutherford Mainframes 1964-1988
This section gives some information on the computers and related hardware installed by the Rutherford Laboratory in the period 1963 to 1985. The main ones were:
- Ferranti Orion
- IBM 360/75
- IBM 360/195
- Second IBM 360/195
- IBM 3032 to front-end the 360/195s
- IBM 3081 to replace the 3032
- ICL Atlas 10 to replace the two 360/195s
- Larger IBM 3081 to replace the original IBM 3081
The IBM 3032 and 3081 were standard members of the IBM range and are of less interest than the IBM 360/195 which was one of the two fastest machines in the world at the time.
The Ferranti Orion was Ferranti's successor to the Ferranti Mercury aimed at both the scientific and commercial markets. The Ferranti Atlas was the top of the range machine under development at much the same time. The Orion was not a commercial success and eventually Ferranti sold its computer activities to ICT which later became part of ICL.
The ICL Atlas 10 was ICL's attempt to get into the IBM-compatible market by rebadging the top-end of the Fujitsu range. At the time, ICL had just concluded a joint marketing and technology development agreement with Fujitsu. Later ICL were taken over by Fujitsu and the UK stopped being a major player in the computer market.
Throughout the period, the Rutherford and Atlas Laboratories were providing a computer service to UK universities. Initially this was via users coming to Chilton and spending time at the site running jobs. Later star networks were introduced providing Remote Job Entry and terminal access from the university departments throughout the UK. With the coming of packet switching networking, this evolved into SERCnet which later merged with other regional university networking activities to form the UK academic network. In consequence, networking was an important area of development at Rutherford and Atlas throughout this period.