COMPUTER MEMORIES, Chapter 29
MOVE TO ARIZONA
I went to work for CEIR in Ft. Huachuca, AZ, starting in May 1961. Can’t remember what those letters (company name) stood for, if anything, but their slogan was something like “Intellect, Plus the Amplifiers of Intellect,” and the amplifier was a computer.
CEIR had ordered one of IBM’s still nonexistent, but planned-to-be-huge computers, 7030 Data Processing System called the STRETCH Computer — STRETCH your imagination, etc. IBM announced the computer in April 1960 and it was withdrawn from the IBM sales catalog in 1961.
CEIR's STRETCH Computer was to be installed in an office on Wilshire Blvd. in Los Angeles. It was mainly intended to solve huge engineering and mathematics problems, and I was supposed to sell computer time to companies who needed a large computer to solve business problems. In there somewhere, the CEIR STRETCH Computer order was cancelled, so although I looked forward to doing that job, it never happened.
Nine 7030 systems were built by IBM's Kingston, New York plant in the early 1960s, and were installed at several Atomic Energy Laboratories, the Navy, and at the Weather Bureau. A couple of them were in use until the mid-1970s. It would fill a huge room, but was only a fraction as powerful as today’s desktop computers.
I remember when I worked at The RAND Corp., IBM engineers talked to each person who was familiar with the existing computers, trying to get ideas for the STRETCH. I can’t imagine I gave any words of wisdom, but on the other hand, maybe I did!
I was to work on a computerized simulated War-Game at Fort Huachuca (80 miles south of Tucson), Arizona until the STRETCH computer arrived in Los Angeles. A simple dictionary definition of simulation is, “to imitate,” and we used the computer to try to imitate a war. These days computers are used for many different tasks in the military. Who knows the long-term value of our efforts, but I like to think that what we accomplished at Ft. Huachuca contributed to the success of computers in the military these days. Well, it must have started somewhere.
Similar tidbits in: Memories of Early Computer Days, Memories of Early Computer Days
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