SOHIO autocode for 750 

Standard Oil Ohio interpretive autocode for 705, operational May 1956

Bemer lists it as a scientific autocode, but the SOHIO News says that is was bought for the Comptroller's department, and it was accounting staff that were trained.

Places Hardware:
  • "Sohio Orders 'Giant Brain' ? The IBM 705" The Sohio News 9(5) May 1955 view details Extract: Text
    Sohio Orders 'Giant Brain' ? The IBM 705
    Widely publicized as a "giant brain," the IBM-705, latest in electronic data proc-essing machines, has been ordered by Sohio and will be delivered early next year. It will be 10 to 50 times as fast as the IBM-650 obtained only last month.

    This was announced by Sohio Controller Ralph A. Martin, who stated that Sohio is getting one of the first of the new units to be produced by International Busi-ness Machines Corp.

    The 705 actually consists of a number of machines. Key ma-chine is the central processing unit. It will add, subtract, mul-tiply, divide, select items from a list, compare information, point out errors, make decisions?all at terrific speed.

    This central unit receives in-formation on punched cards or magnetized tape and stores it in "memory cells." It produces in-formation on connected ma-chines which automatically punch cards, magnetize tape, or print records.

    An operator sitting at its con-trol console follows progress of the work on a board of flashing lights. From time to time an at-tached typewriter clatters off messages ? pointing out errors, telling the operator when to change reels, etc.

    Despite such spectacular "giant brain" aspects, the 705 funda-mentally operates from the punched card system now used. However, it will require year-long planning of accounting pro-cedures and training of person-nel to prepare for its use.

    Controller Martin, commenting on possible effects on person-nel, told more than 700 Home Office Accounting Department Sohioans getting a preview of the new machine: "President Foster has authorized me to state def-initely that no one will lose his job as a result of acquiring elec-tronic equipment.

    "The 705 system should make higher grade jobs ? jobs which pay more money and are more interesting," Martin said.

    As an indication of this change, 20 Sohioans already have taken four-week training courses at the IBM school in Cleveland. Other groups are scheduled for courses during the coming year.

    Although basic data comes from punched cards, the 705 can quickly convert them to magne-tized tape. This not only will cut costs, but will make previous-ly inaccessible records available for study.

    For instance, Sohio's sales records for one month require 300,000 punched cards filling 80 file drawers. Such bulky records are piled to the roof in Sohio's Stationery and Storage Ware-house. Five 11-inch diameter reels of tape will hold the same information as 300,000 cards. And the tape can be fed into the 705 in 30 minutes, while it would take 40 to 50 hours with cards and present equipment.

    Preliminary studies indicate that such "paper work" savings will more than pay the rental of the machine. But the real signifi-cance of the "brain" lies in its opening new possibilities in en-gineering, research, and opera-tions control, says Norman Patton, head of the Electronics Data Processing Special Applications Group of Methods and Pro-cedures Staff.

    "Sohio engineers and planners will be able to solve problems in minutes which now require hours," Patton says. Sales re-search, production scheduling, quantity and quality control, cost studies, inventory control-practically any sort of statistical picture of company operations should be possible on the new machine.
  • Bemer, R. W. "The Status of Automatic Programming for Scientific Problems" view details Abstract: A catalogue of automatic coding systems that are either operational or in the process of development together with brief descriptions of some of the more important ones Extract: Summary
    Let me elaborate these points with examples. UNICODE is expected to require about fifteen man-years. Most modern assembly systems must take from six to ten man-years. SCAT expects to absorb twelve people for most of a year. The initial writing of the 704 FORTRAN required about twenty-five man-years. Split among many different machines, IBM's Applied Programming Department has over a hundred and twenty programmers. Sperry Rand probably has more than this, and for utility and automatic coding systems only! Add to these the number of customer programmers also engaged in writing similar systems, and you will see that the total is overwhelming.
    Perhaps five to six man-years are being expended to write the Alodel 2 FORTRAN for the 704, trimming bugs and getting better documentation for incorporation into the even larger supervisory systems of various installations. If available, more could undoubtedly be expended to bring the original system up to the limit of what we can now conceive. Maintenance is a very sizable portion of the entire effort going into a system.
    Certainly, all of us have a few skeletons in the closet when it comes to adapting old systems to new machines. Hardly anything more than the flow charts is reusable in writing 709 FORTRAN; changes in the characteristics of instructions, and tricky coding, have done for the rest. This is true of every effort I am familiar with, not just IBM's.
    What am I leading up to? Simply that the day of diverse development of automatic coding systems is either out or, if not, should be. The list of systems collected here illustrates a vast amount of duplication and incomplete conception. A computer manufacturer should produce both the product and the means to use the product, but this should be done with the full co-operation of responsible users. There is a gratifying trend toward such unification in such organizations as SHARE, USE, GUIDE, DUO, etc. The PACT group was a shining example in its day. Many other coding systems, such as FLAIR, PRINT, FORTRAN, and USE, have been done as the result of partial co-operation. FORTRAN for the 705 seems to me to be an ideally balanced project, the burden being carried equally by IBM and its customers.
    Finally, let me make a recommendation to all computer installations. There seems to be a reasonably sharp distinction between people who program and use computers as a tool and those who are programmers and live to make things easy for the other people. If you have the latter at your installation, do not waste them on production and do not waste them on a private effort in automatic coding in a day when that type of project is so complex. Offer them in a cooperative venture with your manufacturer (they still remain your employees) and give him the benefit of the practical experience in your problems. You will get your investment back many times over in ease of programming and the guarantee that your problems have been considered.
    The IT language is also showing up in future plans for many different computers. Case Institute, having just completed an intermediate symbolic assembly to accept IT output, is starting to write an IT processor for UNIVAC. This is expected to be working by late summer of 1958. One of the original programmers at Carnegie Tech spent the last summer at Ramo-Wooldridge to write IT for the 1103A. This project is complete except for input-output and may be expected to be operational by December, 1957. IT is also being done for the IBM 705-1, 2 by Standard Oil of Ohio, with no expected completion date known yet. It is interesting to note that Sohio is also participating in the 705 FORTRAN effort and will undoubtedly serve as the basic source of FORTRAN-to- IT-to-FORTRAN translational information. A graduate student at the University of Michigan is producing SAP output for IT (rather than SOAP) so that IT will run on the 704; this, however, is only for experience; it would be much more profitable to write a pre-processor from IT to FORTRAN (the reverse of FOR TRANSIT) and utilize the power of FORTRAN for free.
          in "Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Computer Applications Symposium" , Armour Research Foundation, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois 1957 view details
  • [Bemer, RW] [State of ACM automatic coding library August 1958] view details
          in "Proceedings of the Fourth Annual Computer Applications Symposium" , Armour Research Foundation, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, Illinois 1957 view details
  • [Bemer, RW] [State of ACM automatic coding library May 1959] view details Extract: Obiter Dicta
    Bob Bemer states that this table (which appeared sporadically in CACM) was partly used as a space filler. The last version was enshrined in Sammet (1969) and the attribution there is normally misquoted.
          in [ACM] CACM 2(05) May 1959 view details
  • Carr, John W III; "Computer Programming" volume 2, chapter 2, pp115-121 view details
          in E. M. Crabbe, S. Ramo, and D. E. Wooldridge (eds.) "Handbook of Automation, Computation, and Control," John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1959. view details
  • Bemer, R "ISO TC97/SC5/WGA(1) Survey of Programming Languages and Processors" December 1962 view details
          in [ACM] CACM 6(03) (Mar 1963) view details