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STARS:IBM System/360

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Author: Emerson Pugh

Citation

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.

Timeline

1951 M. V. Wilkes introduces microcoding and control store concept
1953 IBM 701 computer is first delivered to a customer
1956 Thomas J. Watson, Jr., is promoted to chief executive officer of IBM
1959 IBM 1401 Data Processing System is announced
1961 IBM Components Division is established
1961 SPREAD Task Group issues its final report
1963 Honeywell announces its H-200 computer with Liberator program
1964 Emulator for IBM 1401 computer is successfully demonstrated in January
1964 IBM System/360 is announced on 7 April
1964 RCA announces its System/360-compatible Spectra 70 computers in December
1967 Telex Corporation offers System/360-plug-compatible tape drives
1968 Memorex begins shipping System/360-plug-compatible disk drives
1970 First two models of IBM System/370 are announced with monolithic circuits
1972 Soviet Union announces its System/360-compatible Ryad computer system
1975 Amdahl Corporation begins shipping System/370-compatible processors

Essay

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