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Issue No.01 - January-March (2003 vol.25)
pp: 4-33
Donald E. Eckdahl , Deceased 23 July 2001
Irving S. Reed , University of Southern California
Hrant H. (Harold) Sarkissian , Deceased 15 February 2001
<p>The story told here is of the members of a computer group-established by Northrop Aircraft in the mid-1940s to develop a guidance system for a US Air Force missile-who subsequently founded a company that designed and built a general-purpose, digital computer. Successful, but in need of funds, the company was eventually absorbed by a larger enterprise.</p>
Donald E. Eckdahl, Irving S. Reed, Hrant H. (Harold) Sarkissian, "West Coast Contributions to the Development of the General-Purpose Computer: Building Maddida and the Founding of Computer Research Corporation", IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol.25, no. 1, pp. 4-33, January-March 2003, doi:10.1109/MAHC.2003.1179869
1. T.C. Bartee, I.L. Lebow, and I.S. Reed, Theory and Design of Digital Machines, McGraw-Hill, 1962.
2. T.J. Bergin, ed., 50 Years of Army Computing: From Eniac to MSRC, Army Research Laboratories and U.S. Army Ordnance Center and School, 2000.
3. Unless noted otherwise, all quoted material is from the Computer Oral History Collection of the National Museum of American History.
4. T.C. Bartee, I.L. Lebow, and I.S. Reed, Theory and Design of Digital Machines, McGraw-Hill, 1962, sections 10-8, 10-9, and 10-10.
5. O. Morgenstern and J. von Neumann, Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, Princeton Univ. Press, 1944.
6. Copies of the papers apparently do not exist; I believe they never existed as I remember giving my paper from notes, save for a projected transparency that contained examples of a portion of the Boolean algebra equations that defined the Maddida.—D. Eckdahl.
7. J.E. Sammet, "Answers to Self-Study Questions," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 11, no. 1, 1989, p. 43. Sammet writes: "As can be clearly seen in the list…the most common computer in 1951-1952 was the Maddida, not the Univac."
8. Cadac was the name given to the CRC102 computer developed under contract for the Air Force and the CRC102/Cadac was the prototype for a subsequent commercial version of the computer called the CRC102A.
9. R. Sprague, "A Western View of Computer History," Comm. ACM, vol. 15, no. 7, July 1972, pp. 691-692.
10. R. Sprague, "A Western View of Computer History," Comm. ACM, vol. 15, no. 7, July 1972, pp. 691-692.
11. D. Spicer, "Maddida: Bridge Between Worlds," CORE: A publication of the Computer Museum History Center, vol. 1.3, Sept. 2000, pp. 2-5.
12. But several years later, when the investment community began to understand that there might be some demand for these "giant brains" or "digital computers," American Research and Development financed the start-up computer company Digital Equipment Corporation.
13. Consolidated Electrodynamics subsequently created its own computer company, Electro-Data, which later became the basis of Burroughs Corporation's entry into digital computers.
14. Tibor Fabian recalled a visit to the CRC facility made with UCLA Management Sciences Research Project "cubby-mate" Dick Canning in late 1952 or early 1953. "After security arrangements, we were led into a large industrial area, a relatively empty structure. On one side stood metal frames, similar to industrial metal shelves, in a long row, one behind the other. Those in the front were fairly well filled with electronic equipment and a great deal of wiring; those toward the middle were gradually emptier, while those toward the end were almost empty. It was clear that this was an assembly process, in which the assemblers moved gradually from the first to the last of the metal frames and added the electronics and wiring in the step-wise fashion of an assembly line. As Dick explained, the racks were computers-to-be." From E. Weiss, "Roger Sisson Biography," IEEE Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 18, no. 2, Summer 1996, pp. 67-76.
15. Northrop Aircraft, Maddida (Preliminary Report), Project MX-775, report no. GM-545, 26 May 1950.
16. F.J. Gruenberger, "A Short History of Digital Computing in Southern California," Annals of the History of Computing, vol. 2, no. 3, July 1980, p. 248.
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