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STARS:IBM System/360

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Author: Emerson Pugh

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The April 1964 announcement of IBM System/360 was revolutionary in content and unprecedented in scope. It replaced all five of IBM’s (6-bit-byte) computer product lines with one strictly compatible family, using a new hybrid-integrated-circuit technology and a new 8-bit-byte architecture. Six processor models offering a 50-fold performance range were accompanied by 54 different peripheral devices, with a pioneering standard interface providing full interchangeability. The software package included communications network capabilities, 16 different language compilers, and a graduated-function, multiprogramming, disk-based operating system. Innovations of System/360 quickly became de facto standards that reshaped the computer industry and facilitated its sustained rapid growth.

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