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Stretch-ing Is Great Exercise— It Gets You in Shape to Win
January 2010 (vol. 32 no. 1)
pp. 4-9
Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

IBM's Project Stretch (1955–1961) lost the company some $35 million big 1960 dollars. Yet the project, a bold adventure into transistorized computers, drove into existence new technologies in circuits, packaging, memory, and I/O upon which IBM built its successful second-generation computer product lines. The architectural, instruction-pipelining, arithmetic, and software innovations were crucial for IBM's third-generation System/360 product family and even for its later RISC innovation.

1. T.J. Watson, Jr., "Transcription of 1966 Talk at the IBM Annual Awards Dinner," IBM's Early Computers, C. Bashe et al., MIT Press, 1985, p. 458.
2. C. Bashe et al., IBM's Early Computers, MIT Press, 1985, especially ch. 11.
3. C. Christensen, L. Kanter, and G. Monroe, Data Synchronizer, US patent 3,812,475, to IBM, US Patent and Trademark Office, 1957.
4. The Lincoln Labs TX-2, developed concurrently with Stretch, also had a set of virtual channels. See J.W. Forgie, "The Lincoln TX-2 Input- Output System," Proc. IRE-AIEE-ACM Western Joint Computer Conf., ACM Press, 1957, pp. 156–160.
5. E.F. Codd et al., "Multiprogramming Stretch: Feasibility Considerations," Comm. ACM, vol. 2, no. 11, 1959, pp. 13–17.
6. C. Strachey, "Time Sharing in Large, Fast Computers," Proc. Int'l Conf. Information Processing, United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), 1959, pp. 336–341.
7. G. Blaauw and F. Brooks, Computer Architecture: Concepts and Evolution, Addison-Wesley, 1997, especially Sect. 13.2.
8. W. Buchholz ed., Planning a Computer System: Project Stretch, McGraw-Hill, 1962.

Index Terms:
Stretch computers, high-performance computing, transistorized computers
Frederick P. Brooks, Jr., "Stretch-ing Is Great Exercise— It Gets You in Shape to Win," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 32, no. 1, pp. 4-9, Jan. 2010, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2010.26
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