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Design of an Early Minicomputer
July-September 2007 (vol. 29 no. 3)
pp. 68-71
Herbert Freeman, Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University
This article describes the design of an early 1950s attempt to build a relatively low-cost computer, using a mechanical desktop calculator to perform the arithmetic operations. The resulting computer--one of the earliest attempts at building a "minicomputer"--could perform stored-program addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division, as well as carry out a simple decision operation based on a number comparison. To solve a problem, the operator would type in a program sequence based on the use of nine basic instructions. Total memory capacity was 400 words.

1. H. Freeman, "System Design of the Sperry Digital Computer," Proc. Nat'l Electronics Conf., vol. XII, 1956.

Index Terms:
early minicomputer, desk calculator, electromechanical computer
Herbert Freeman, "Design of an Early Minicomputer," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 68-71, July-Sept. 2007, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2007.35
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