AVSIG: The Apollo coders who put men on the moon wwswsigarch.jpg (7236 bytes)

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Russell Holton
AVSIG Member

Reged: 07/07/05
Posts: 14136
The Apollo coders who put men on the moon
      #444908 - 11/16/17 02:28 PM

I was trying to decide what section this belonged in. I decided it was the "Hardware" folks who would appreciate this bit of history the most. About just how under-powered those old machines were.

ZDNet: NASA's unsung heroes: The Apollo coders who put men on the moon

The computers used during the Apollo missions were impossibly crude by modern standards. Each of the RTCC's five IBM System/360 Model J75 mainframes had about 1MB of main memory, not even enough to load a typical web page in 2017.

"The software that controls what happens when you move your mouse on your PC--the mouse driver for Windows--takes more memory than all the NASA supercomputers put together had for Apollo," said Jones.

Despite filling an entire hall with electronics, the mainframes each topped out at about one million instructions per second (MIPs), some 30,000-times slower than the fastest processors used in today's personal computers.

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Andrew Niemyer -KDLH
Top Gun

Reged: 09/18/04
Posts: 3353
Loc: Minnesota
Re: The Apollo coders who put men on the moon [Re: Russell Holton]
      #445285 - 11/26/17 04:06 PM

The kind of reconnaissance I did in my first Fleet assignment retired us to collect parametric data, via magnetic tape recorders, using at least 1" (Maybe 2"?) wide tape on huge reels. Some of the data from those reels had to be reduced to print outs and other means of storing and disseminating it.

About 1/3 of the total floor space of the second deck (Floor) of our squadron's ashore spaces was taken up with one of those IBM 360's, complete with punch card stations; the huge, dinner-plate sized disc assemblies that plopped down on top of the main frames, etc. They were highly classified units, and you had to go through a couple of layers of security to get into the "center." And we thought they were amazing.

I also recall when we received the first Textronics "desktop" systems for evaluation. OK, we mainly used it to play early "Cannon ball" games, but it was pretty cool in 1979.


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