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#2: Timeline of mainframe computers used for academic computing at U-M

posted May 6, 2019, 6:37 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated May 15, 2019, 3:22 AM ]

1953 -- MIDAC operational

MIchigan Digital Automatic Computer becomes operational (August). MIDAC was operated by Willow Run's Digital Computation Department under the leadership of John Carr III. The project was under the sponsorship of the Wright Air Development Center, United States Air Force and the Willow Run Research Center of the Engineering Research Institute, University of Michigan. MIDAC remained the property of the Air Force until it was removed in 1958. [UMRNews76]

1956 -- IBM 650

The IBM 650 was installed in the Statistical Research Lab. [UMRNews76]

1959 -- Computing Center established

A "research and service activity of the Graduate School" and was intended to "provide consultation and computing service for teaching and research units of the University." [UMRNews76]

1959 -- IBM 704 purchased

The first computer installed at the Computing Center is for at least some operations 100 times faster than the IBM 650. [UMRNews76]

1961 -- IBM 709 installed

The IBM 709 computer at U-M's Willow Run Laboratories is transferred to the Computing Center in January and moved to the North University Building in August replacing the Center's IBM 704. [UMRNews76]

1962 -- IBM 7090 installed

A transistorized, or solid-state, version of the 709, but six times faster, replaces the U-M Computing Center's IBM 709. [UMRNews76]

1963 -- Computing Center moved

Reporting changed from the Graduate School to the Office of the Vice-President for Research. [UMRNews76]

1966 -- IBM 360/40

Installed at the Survey Research Center within ISR to replace a tape-based IBM 1401. Ran OS/360 rather than MTS. [GregMarks19]

1966 -- IBM 360/50 installed

As part of U-M's CONCOMP Project an IBM System 360 Model 50 is located at the North University Building (NUBS). This system is used to support peripheral operations for the 7090, development of a IBM channel interface for the PDP-8 Data Concentrator, and for early MTS development work (May). There wasn’t room in the machine room for both an IBM 1410 and the 360/50, so the 50 had to take over the work of the 1410. [UMITD96]

1966 -- IBM 360/67 installed

This single processor system was eight times faster than the previous IBM 7090. The 360/67 was the first IBM mainframe to support virtual memory and other features to support time sharing. Serial number 2. The IBM 360/50 was removed when the model 67 was installed. [UMITD96]

1968 -- IBM 360/67 upgraded to two processors

The U-M Computing Center obtains a dual-processor (duplex) IBM S/360-67 (August). It replaces the earlier single processor 360/67 which was designed to be field upgrade-able, but in fact was not. The original plan was to upgrade the half-duplex 360/67 by adding a second CPU.  That’s why U-M got the half-duplex instead of the slightly cheaper simplex model 67 initially. In the end, IBM decided they would rather replace the whole half-duplex 360/67 rather than try to field install all the fixes that hadn’t yet been installed on the half-duplex.  It was going to be a major job to install all the fixes and the result would probably be less reliable than a new machine.  So MTS was shut down for a weekend and IBM moved out the half-duplex and moved in a duplex.The IBM 7090 was removed earlier to make room for the duplex 67. [UMITD96]

1974 -- IBM 370/168 installed

Installed at the end of fall term 1974, the 370/168 was, on average, six times greater than that of a single processor on the 360/67.

1975 -- Amdahl 470V/6 purchased

Installed in July the new computer is on average between 1.6 to 1.7 times faster than the previous IBM 370/168 mainframe. It was the first mainframe computer purchased by U-M, the previous mainframes were leased. Serial #2. Main memory increased from 2 to 4 megabytes in July 1976, from 4 to 6 megabytes at the end of December 1977 and from 6 to 8 megabytes in November 1978.

???? -- Amdahl 470V/6-II upgrade

The 470V6-II offered up to a 15% performance improvement over the original 470V/6.

1978 -- IBM 370/148

A system used by the IBM sponsored Word Processing Project, it ran MVS rather than MTS and was not generally available to campus students, faculty, and staff.

1979 -- Amdahl 470V/7 purchased

An Amdahl V/7 with 8 megabytes of real memory that was 50% faster than the Amdahl 470V/6 it replaced in March. Real memory was increased to 12 megabytes early in 1980.

1980 -- Amdahl 470V/8 purchased

The Amdahl 470V/8 replaced the V/7 and provided 10% to 15% additional capacity. Real memory on the system was increased from 8 to 12 megabytes. In September 1981 real memory on the V/8 was increased again to 16 megabytes.

1982 -- Amdahl 5860 purchased

Serial # P1 (first production machine) began production service in November. The 5860 provided a 40% increase in processor capacity compared to the 470V/8 that it replaced. The new system had 24 megabytes of real memory.

1985 -- Amdahl 470V/8 installed

This system was donated by Amdahl and became the second MTS system in March, called UB. It had 16 megabytes of real storage.

1986 -- IBM 3090-400 approved

A four processor system with 128 megabytes of main storage, 64 I/O channels, and two IBM Vector Facilities (VFs) with an option to add a third VF at a later time. The first factory shipped IBM 3090-400 was installed in October. Each 3090 CPU is roughly 1.5 times as fast as an Amdahl 5860 CPU. The 3090 replaced both the Amdahl 5860 (UM) and the Amdahl V/8 (UB). To continue to run UM and UB as separate systems the four processors of the 3090 were often partitioned into separate systems with two processors each with one partition often running under VM/370. [UMCNews86]

1987 -- IBM 4361 Model II

The U-M Department of Human Genetics ran MTS on an IBM 4361 mainframe starting in January or February 1987. U-M's academic Computing Center maintained MTS, performed software upgrades, re-IPLed the system, and did trouble-shooting as necessary. [UMCNews87]

1988 -- IBM 3090-600E upgrade

An upgrade to a six processor system with two Vector Facilities was completed in July 1988.




[UMITD96]            "MTS Timeline", Information Technology Digest, University of Michigan, pp.9-10, Volume 5, No. 5 (May 13, 1996).
[UMRNews76]      "A Faster Cratchet", Research News, Vol. XXVII, No. 1 (January 1976), University of Michigan, 24 pages.
[UMCNews86]     "An IBM 3090 for the Computing Center", U-M Computing News, University of Michigan Computing Center, p. 2, Volume 1, No. 6 (October 13, 1996).
[UMCNews87]      "Department of Human Genetics Now Runs MTS", U-M Computing News, University of Michigan Computing Center, p. 16, Volume 2, No. 4 (February 16, 1987).
[GregMarks19]    E-mail from Greg Marks (May 10, 2019)


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