Athena Bendix G-20 and
CIT G-21
Univac 1108 IBM S/360-67 IBM 1401 Site Home
IBM 7040 Hybrid Lab G-15 Bogart DEC PDP-10 CMU Photos from Chris Hausler

Univac 1108 At CMU

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This page continues the documentation of the computers at Carnegie-Mellon University  in the 1960's. You can click on the links above to learn about some of the other computers.

Hi All,

These are to my knowledge the only photos I ever took of the 1108 and 360.  When they were moved to Wean, summer 1971, they were placed with the consoles right next to each other.  The three photos in this email are kind of a pan, from left to right(although the photographer, me, did move a bit between photos).  The first one shows the 1108 tape drives, the second one the 1108 and its console and the third one the 360 (with the DAT unit open) although you can still see the 1108 console in the leftof this photo.  I have no idea who were the two young men operating the machines.  Both at the time I made the photographs were attending the 360 and although you can see tapes mounted on the 1108, it did not appear to be doing anything while I was there.

I hope you've all enjoyed this little trip down memory lane (is that core memory ;-)

While searching for these slides, I came across another surprise.  For some forgotten reason, I had acquired a single roll of Anscochrome film and exposed it likely in spring 1969, but I could be off a year either way.  I know its spring because the shots at the end of the roll are of the midway at spring carnival and some buggy race shots as well.  Why, as my father worked for Eastman Kodak (and I worked there summers at that time as well) and I was religious about using Kodak film, I don't know.  Further, I didn't get the roll processed until 1975.  This I do remember as I recall finding it and almost throwing it out but having completely forgotten what was on it finally deciding to get it processed.  Once again it was forgotten until I just went slide mining.  This is the first time I've ventured to look at these slides in over 20 years.  Nothing really interesting in this one roll except the early construction (actually more destruction, lots of holes being dug in the ground) of Wean Hall. That's why I'm assuming it was spring 1969 as I believe the project was underway by that time, but again I could be a year off either way.  Do any of you have better information about the timing of the construction of Wean?  Anyway, I have not yet scanned any of these slides.  Are any of you interested in seeing a few of them? 

My next scanning project is likely to be of some of those Tri-X negatives I took in 66 and 67.  I believe I know where they are. I haven't looked at those since I rescued (most of) them from a flood in the early 70's.  I don't know how much if any of them will be of interest to you all.  We shall see...

Chris Hausler

The 1108 tape drives

The 1108 and its console

The 360 (with the DAT unit open) although you can still see the 1108 console in the left of this photo
Mark's note: I remeber in the 1960's the 360 was operated with the DAT door open all the time. I was told it was heat.

Univac 1108 Manuals


Univac 1108 ALGOL - TOC
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 1 Introduction
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 2 Elements of the Language
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 3 Declarations
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 4 Expressions
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 5 Statements
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 6 Control Statements
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 7 Procedures
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 8 Block Structure
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 9 Input/Output
Univac 1108 ALGOL - 10 Operation

Date:            Mon, 17 May 2010 11:03:43 -0700
From:            Paul McJones <>
Subject:         Re: ALGOL-20 for Bendix G-21

Mark and Dave,

It's nice to hear from you (as another person who acquired a lifetime addiction to computers in high school, but in California). Perhaps you met my friend Dennis Austin -- he was another high school student in the NSF-funded program. (He went on to work at Burroughs for a number of years, and later worked at a tiny company called Forefront, where he implemented the original PowerPoint.)

Re the Univac Algol manual, Al Kossow also has a scan at bitsavers:

plus an "extended" version:

Do you folks know anything about the origins of these compilers?

By the way, re scanning the manuals, I find that it's usually best to scan in B&W (one bit/pixel) mode rather than grayscale, unless there is a continuous-tone image (e.g., photograph) on a particular page, in which case I switch to grayscale or color. This generally results in smaller files with better contrast.


I got an email from Al Crew in Feb 2013.


It was a pleasant surprise to find your photos on the web.  I graduated from CMU in 1978 and was an operator/programmer
in the computer center the last few years there.  Unfortunately, I never took any photos.  Would it be possible for you to send me higher resolution copies of the three pictures you posted (1108 tape drives, 1108 console, 360 console and computer)?

Many Thanks!
(I forwarded the email to Cris since took the photos)
Hi Al,

Mark forwarded your message to me.  Yes I took the photos.  I believe the ones you want are the three color ones I took during my first homecoming visit in fall 1976. 

I graduated in 1971 after 5 years with a BSEE.  I too spent time as a part time operator, mostly on the 1108, from spring 1968 to summer 1970 when I got a job as a lab tech with the Computer Science Department's engineering lab.  I figure that as an operator, over those two years I read several hundred thousand punch cards into the 1108's 1004 reader/printer/punch.  I had a source of 1/2 inch magnetic tape and still have quite a few spools of it with the "eye" side of the hook-and-eye attachment mechanism used by those UNISERVO VIII drives still spliced onto the leading end of the tape.

I did spend some time with the 360 (not to mention the long gone when you were there G-20's. I still have a masthead printout showing me as the G-20 operator in spring 68.  I believe the G-20's were removed that summer.  They still existed in private hands during that fall 1976 trip and you can see some photos of them if you are interested by looking at one of the Carl Lefkowitz links on Mark's web site.  I still think I had more fun with that machine than any others :-)

I have some questions for you, and I think the other "members" of the group might be interested as well. 

First, who were the users of the 360 and 1108 during your time.  When we were there, the 1108 replaced the G-20's (and the IBM 7040, used mostly by the Physics department, although I had fun with it, learned FORTRAN :-) as the main user machine with the 360 being more used by the Computer Science Department for research projects.  What was the mix when you were there? 

Secondly, was the Fastrand II still connected to the 1108?  Since I left the campus right after we had moved the computers to Wean from the fourth floor of Scaife in June 1971, I honestly don't recall whether the Fastrand II followed. It is not in the photos but the photos don't show a 360 degree view either.  (I however had the fun of disassembling the 1108 processor module in Scaife to get it ready to move as it had to be separated into two pieces to fit into the elevator.  It had come into Scaife in one piece through a hole in the roof near the northeast corner of Scaife.  (I still remember the worried look on the face of the UNIVAC head CE as he occasionally come around behind the processor box to see me gleefully disconnecting cables and even individual wires :-)

Finally, as you left in 1978, were either or both of the machines still there or had they been removed by that time? Someone at the Unisys History group indicated to me that 1976 was a late date for an 1108 to still be in service.

Anyway, so much for my blathering on, attached are the three photos.

73, J. Chris Hausler
The primary user of the 1108 was the physics department.  They had a minicomputer of some sort that looked like an RJE station.  They were able  to submit jobs and make their own listings.  The 1108 was the recommend  machine for computationally intensive jobs.  The 360 was the general workhorse for the non-comp-sci folks.  The computer center also ran RSTS on  a PDP-11.  It was actually one of the PDP-11's that was intended to be the Front End for the 360.  The PDP-11s were originally in a redundant configuration,  however they never failed.  So one was used for RSTS.   In a pinch they could reconfigure it to run as the Front End.  Finally, the computer center also had a hybrid computer.

The computer science department had a number of DECsystem 10's as their primary computers.  They actually held the 360 is extreme distain.  I was very surprised to read your account of their involvement with the 360!!!

When I started working at the computer center (1975 or 1976?), the 1108 had no Fastrands, just a drum.  Later, (1977?), they got a number of surplus Fastrands from the Federal government, the Census department I think think. For a while they were stored in the penthouse above the freight elevator in Wean Hall.  They eventually installed at least one on the 1108.  I remember the physics department running test jobs on it.   I do not believe that it had been placed into production when I left CMU in 1978.  (It may be that they belonged to the physics department.)

When I left in 1978, I believe that the 1108 and 360 were still running. The center had gotten at least one of the DECsystem 20's by then.  General computing was moving to the Decsystem 20's.  I am not sure when the 1108 and 360 were decommissioned.

After graduation, I got a job locally and did my M.S. part time.  I was in the user area one time and the doors to the expansion area were open.  I remember seeing the corpse of the 360 laying abandoned in the expansion area.  Soon after that the expansion area was finished and became part of the computer science department.

Oh, what I would have given for that front panel!!!

You can share any of this account, but please do not publish my email address.Feel free to make any editorial corrections/changes.

Do you remember Dean Hiller, Pat DiLeonardo, Bill Pringle, Dave King or Darren Price?
Hi Al,

Thanks for the information!  I know that when the 1108 was purchased, it had to satisfy both the physics department's need for intensive computing (which it did well at, a specific and frequent job from the "scanning lab" which took several hours on the 7040 took 12 minutes on the 1108 :-) and as a replacement for the then general computing facility, the G-20's, which ran Algol, the primary language taught at the school.  The 1108 had both a good FORTRAN and a good Algol (and in fact you could mix FORTRAN and Algol subroutines in one job.  I would write Algol routines which used FORTRAN subroutines from UNIVAC's "Math-pack" and "Stat-pack" libraries.).  We ran a number of benchmarks on both the 360 and 1108 and generally the 1108 cleaned the 360 by a wide margin, I believe due to the fast swapping drums (FH432's ?) on it. 

When I was there the 1108 always ran EXEC II.  UNIVAC like IBM was developing a multitask and even multiprocessor OS called EXEC 8 but it was having the same problems that IBM was having with TSS.  It was my understanding that the school got the 360/67 either free or for cheap because the CS department was going to help with the development and testing of TSS.  While working as an operator I was briefly involved with this effort as a "trial user".  To put it bluntly, it was pathetic. 

I think UNIVAC had a similar deal with CASE as I saw an 1108 installation there with two processors and four memory cabinets (CMU just had one of each).  It was my understanding that with all these problems, UNIVAC hired an outside firm to develop a quick and dirty OS for the machine until they got "8" working.  This was EXEC II, just a batch system with spooling.  From what you are telling me it would appear that it was still running that when you were there.  EXEC II was capable of using RJE stations.  One remote customer had a 1004 on a 120 CPS modem and there was a DCT-100 (a bizarre beast) over in the basement of Hammerschlag Hall in the Hybrid Computer room for a while as well.  Both these units could read cards and print.  Do you know of any other OS's run on the 1108?

When the school first got the 360/67 in fall 1966, there was no real OS for it and briefly it ran things called BOS, TOS and DOS (the B for "basic", the T for "tape" and, of course, the D for "disk").  It came with a number of 2311 disk pack drives which had a pack capacity of about 7 MB.  Within a year these were replaced with 2314's which had a pack capacity of about 25 MB.  What was the disk component of the 360 when you were there?  By this time as well, they were running OS/MFT with HASP when they weren't trying to test TSS.  I always heard that Algol 68 which tried to run on the 360 (I never got it to work and gave up quickly) but mostly failed would thus have made the 360 a difficult choice as a general computer for a school so steeped in Algol but maybe by your time the "Algol forces" had dissipated.  Of course the PDP-10 became a darling of CS departments all over the country and had many neat languages on it (still have my SNOBOL 4 manual :-)

You are correct, the first PDP-10, a KA10, arrived after the G-20's were removed (occupied the same site in the southwest corner of the forth floor of Scaife) and very quickly, the CS department dropped much effort on the 360 (although not all) and went to the 10.  A couple years later they got a second stripped down KA10 about the same time that the ARPANET IMP showed up (I remember it's arrival, in a shielded cabinet with lifting bolts.  Sure looked tough next to the PDP-10 cabinets).  I am assuming that the two KA10's shown in that photo on Mark's site (the one with the guy in the yellow sweater, John Godfrey, on top of the desk in the CS department computer room also taken during that 1976 visit) were those two units. 

I never heard of a PDP-11 as a front end for a 360.  Tell me more.  I do know that one of the later PDP-10's (KL10?) used a PDP-11 as a console.  Within DEC there was almost a war over this or so I've heard.  The 10 folks couldn't understand why anyone would put a wart on the front of their beautiful machine and the 11 folks couldn't understand why anyone needed to put such a piece of junk behind their baby :-)  I attended the 1983 DECUS in St. Louis just after DEC had announced the termination of the PDP-10 line and the mood was dark and ugly :-)  The next time I was at CMU was in the early 80's, 82 or 83, for homecoming, I recall seeing such a machine there.  It was in the then glassed in area you faced when you got off the elevators on the third floor of Wean.  I believe the 1108 and 360 were both gone by then but am not sure.  When I was there for that earlier trip in 1976 that area had housed the C.mmp, one of Gordon Bell's creations I think, and of course the 1108 and 360 as shown in those photos was in the area to the left of that.  It was during that 1976 trip that I picked a couple of IBM datacells which I still have out of a trash bin in the then still unfinished area off the third floor under the plaza in front of Hammerschlag.  The Datacell drive had been removed from the 360 before I left in 1971.  It was a bigger failure than the RCA RACE on the G-20's.

The name Dean Hiller rings a bell but I cannot put a face to it and I have no memory of the others.

You mention a hybrid computer.  What was this?  When we were there the EE department had a hybrid lab which consisted of a EAI 680 connected with a PDP-9.  I was under the impression, however, that this was decommissioned by the time I left.  Although I tried to get access to the 680 there were never enough patch panels to go around and so my "career" as an analog computer programmer never got off the ground.  I did however use the PDP-9 frequently (mostly FOCAL language) and still have a DECTAPE from it.

Oh yes, would I love to have a 360 (or an 1108 or a 7040) front panel!!!  About 25 years ago I started collecting front panels.  I was once chasing a 7040 panel but that effort failed.  I do have a number of minicomputer panels from the mid 60's to the late 70's and one "midicomputer", a 24 bit machine which I actually installed in 1974 for a customer in Minneapolis and replaced in 1993.  Four of them are shown in that photo of me in a Santa hat on Mark's page.  Clockwise from upper left, Data General Nova 2 (tall chassis), GE-PAC 4010 (the "midi"), Data General Nova 1200 (short chassis) and DEC PDP-11/70.  These are all machines I actually used.  My collection currently consists of: PDP-8/S (have almost the entire machine), PDP-8/L, PDP-11/05, PDP-11/20, PDP-11/34, PDP-11/70, TI-990, Modcomp II, DG Nova 1200 (both short and tall chassis units), DG Nova 2 (tall chassis), DG Nova 3, DG Eclipse S200, DG Eclipse S250 and Honeywell (3C) DDP-516. Unfortunately, however, no "mainframes" and it has been over a decade since I acquired my most recent one.  So the "well" seems to have dried up.

Interesting story about the surplus Fastrands.  Computer stuff goes obsolete in such a short time.  For an employer I once bought a DEC RP04 (80 MB) pack drive and an entire PDP-11/44 system with RLO2 disks and TS11 tape drive both for less than $1000.00 in the late 1980's.  They both served me well.

73, J. Chris Hausler

You have an amazing memory!!!

We were still running Exec II on the 1108. We had a boat-load of Calcomp disks on the 360; not sure of the model numbers.  Plus we added 3 dual IBM 3330 disks when I was there.

The 360 had 256K of high speed core and an amazing 4MB of extended core. The extended core consisted of four 1mb boxes.  Each box was about 6 feet wide, 5 feet high, and 2 feet deep.  I always think about that when I look at my 4GB USB memory stick.

I do not know much of the details about the 360 front end.  It handled all of the terminal (teletype) traffic for the 360.  It consisted of two PDP-11's.  Model 45's I think.  I believe that all the I/O was on a Unibus switch.  The two processors have shared memory between them.   As I said, the original intent was that the if one processor failed the other would take over.  But they never failed.  So one was dedicated to the front end function; the other ran RSTS.   I believe that the FE processor handled the terminal traffic for the RSTS processor also. (The communicated through the shared memory).   Aome how the whole thing was connected to the 360's multiplexer channel and looked like a terminal controller.

Was the 1108/360 network in place when you were there?  It was a bi-sync network that allowed the machines to use each other's printers and card readers, plus the 360 could submit batch jobs to the 1108.


P.S. When I worked at the computer center, the old timers would pass on the "tribal history".  One of the stories was about this guy who split the 1108 into two pieces to move it from Scaife Hall to Science Hall.  It is an honor to "talk" to that legendary man.
Hi Al,

Gee, I didn't know that by the time you attended CMU, the folks at the comp center considered that I was a “legendary man” :-) 

I do recall seeing those large extended 360 core boxes when I was there on that trip in 1976.  I recall that they were not IBM boxes, but I don't recall the manufacturer.  Yes, I've always said that the story of computing is really the story of memory technology as after some initial experimentation with alternative processor architectures, things pretty much settled down by the mid 1950's and advances in that area since have been more a matter of evolution than revolution.  But, there's a terabyte USB drive sitting next to me as I write this, one I've had for several years, and it boggles the mind.

Your story about the 360 PDP-11 based terminal front end is interesting.  It may explain something which has always puzzled me about that photo on Mark's site of me standing in front of my modem rack.  In addition to designing the control logic for and building the modem chassis, I also put together that rack and the power supplies on the back of it into which they were mounted.  However, when I left in 1971, the panels below the modem chassis were just blank aluminum panels.  Someone had replaced them with all those plastic DECTAPE racks.  I always wondered why.  Likely by 1976 my modems were connected to that PDP-11 front end and thus the convenient DECTAPES.  I know DEC had it pretty well together with serial asynchronous I/O.  I made great use of their Unibus DZ11 16 channel serial cards which which worked very well.  It has always been my opinion that IBM never really understood serial asynchronous I/O.  The RJE system which was on the 360 under OS/MFT (or maybe it was HASP which was providing it, I don't know) when I was there in the late 60's was pathetic.  IBM always seemed focused, even much later, on high end synchronous I/O to “smart terminals” like their 2780 and 3270 devices.  As recently as ten years ago when I needed to connect serially to an IBM mainframe from one of the computer systems I was developing, to it I had to look like one of those devices.  Fortunately there was a company not far from Pittsburgh I believe named “Black Box” which had a number of conversion boxes where you could “talk” to the box with a standard serial asynchronous link and it would emulate to the IBM one of those “smart” devices.  I made great use of them (not to mention many of their other products like Ethernet network switches).

No, I am not aware that there was an 1108/360 network in place when I was there.  I do know that even with the two UNIVAC 1004's and that UNIVAC high speed printer which I think ran about 1000 LPM, with the typical job queues running on the 1108 at that time (student jobs, i.e. compile, load, crash ;-) that the 1108 job queue could go idle but all three printers would continue unloading the spool for ten to fifteen minutes or more and so when any of the three printers and particularly the high speed printer (a very marginal device) was down, the remaining printers couldn't always keep up with the processor in any reasonable way.  The four tape drives on the 1108 were of course 7 track.  The 360 also had four tape drives when I was there (addresses 0C0 to 0C3 :-) and although drives 1-3 were 9 track, drive 0 was 7 track and so could read and write tapes for the 1108.  There was a program written for the 360 (and my memory has it that it was written by Athena group member Dave Rodgers) which would read 1108 output spool tapes so to use the 360's printer when one (or more) of the 1108 printers was down.  I needed that program one night and could not find the thin deck (the program itself was on the 360 disks, the card deck just called it out).  The next day I got the deck and made a number of copies of it so if I ever needed it again and couldn't find the “official” copy I had some spares in my locker in Scaife.  Well, when I left CMU in summer 1971 I just cleaned out my various lockers around the campus into boxes.  I know somewhere around here on the “pile” I still have one or two of those decks :-)  I've seen them at least once in the last half dozen years or so.

The G-20's had a home-brew sixteen channel dial-in terminal interface with an RJE and some other features which was quite advanced for its time.  When the G-20's were replaced by the 1108, this was lost but there was an effort to use a PDP-8 as a terminal front end for the 1108.  It never worked very well and I do not recall why.  I heard rumors of hardware problems but really have no information.  It was taken out of service long before I left.  I believe that PDP-8 remained with the comp center however and I recall on the 1976 trip seeing a PDP-8 way in the back of the computer room.  Do you recall it and what was being done with it?  There were rumors that the PDP-8 which had been Gordon Bell's over in HH53 (photo of me in 1966 or early 67 playing with it on Mark's site) was eventually used to develop a small time sharing system called something like TSS/8 but I don't know if it or even Bell's 8 as well migrated to the computer center.  Did they ever put dial-in lines on the 1108, possibly by connecting it to the PDP-11 as well?

You haven't mentioned what course of study you were taking at CMU.  I ask this because I have another question not directly related to the comp center itself.  The period you were there, 1975 to 1978 corresponds to a period in time I call the “big bang” of microprocessor technology.  It was in that period that the first major 8 bit microprocessors from a number of vendors came out.  Yes there were some micros before that but their penetration was limited.  The three major ones I saw which all arrived during that time were the Intel 8080, the Motorola 6800 and the MOS Technology 6502.  There were others, the Fairchild F8 (one I briefly looked at), the RCA 1802 and others but to the hobby computer market those first three seemed to be the most widespread.  I know after studying the subject for about a year (at that time for work I was writing code for Data General 16 bit minis and continued doing that for several years later and then just jumped to DEC PDP-11's about 1981) I jumped in with both feet as a hobbyist in early 1977 selecting the 6800.  Anyway, I'm wondering what impact this sudden arrival of all these microprocessors had at CMU, particularly relative to both the CS and EE departments.  Do you recall anything?  I would doubt it had any immediate impact at the comp center, but did it?

73, J. Chris Hausler

 I had received this email in 2010:

Date:            Sun, 30 May 2010 17:54:31 -0700
From:            Paul McJones <>
Subject:         Re: ALGOL-20 for Bendix G-21

More about Carnegie in the G-21 era:

     Report on a Visit to the USA
     R F Churchhouse, F R A Hopgood, E B Fossey
     November 1965
     17th May to 12th June, 1965
     Atlas Computer Laboratory

contains a section "Visit to Carnegie Institute of Technology (Pittsburgh) 31st May/1st June 1965" that mentions the G-21, S-205 and other courses, and what various people were working on at the time; it ends with a description of a modem with an acoustic coupler, although neither of those terms is used.


Then in 2014, I got this email from the above mentioned F.R.A. Hopgood:

Date:    Thu, 4 Sep 2014 14:33:05 +0100
Subject:    1108 at Carnegie
From:    Bob Hopgood <>


I came across your web site and saw some discussion as to which machine came in through the roof. It was the Univac 1108. See photos attached.

It was the first time I had seen such an event thus the photos.

Bob Hopgood

Great photos. Thanks. I guess in an odd computer nerdy way, they are historic. I will forward them to the other guys on my mailing list.

I recognize your name from a trip report that you made to to Carnegie in May/June of 1965. Was that you?


Yes that was me and I spent the 1966-67 academic year in the Department.

While there, I implemented the Brooker-Morris Compiler Compiler on the G21, then did some work displaying algrebaic expressions from Formula Algol on the Philco displays.

It was an enjoyable year.


In the summer of 1965, I was still in high school but spent  the summer at Carnegie Tech in a summer research program. As part of that program, I got to take the equivalent of S-205 that you talk about in your report. Taught by Jan Fierst on the G-21.

After I enrolled in the fall of 1966, I got to take all of the other S-xxx courses.

I have never heard of the Brooker-Morris Compiler Compiler. I just read some about it on Wikipedia. I recall that syntax definition and analysis was big stuff at Carnegie back then. With the Algol courses I took, BNF was drilled into our heads.

Was your time at Carnegie a result of the 1965 trip?

So the photos were taken sometime during the 66-67 school year?  What do you remember about the day? How did you get access to the roof of Scaife? I'd like to hear what you remember.


On the trip in 1965 we discussed the possibility of a staff member of the Atlas Computer Laboratory coming over each year for a sabbatical. All three of us who made that visit knew David Cooper well who was in the Deaprtment. Al Perlis was interested in doing it so I was the first person to come. The next year Malcolm Bird came, and the year after Don Russell who worked on BLISS. Later the arrangements became more irregular although we worked closely with Carnegie-Mellon around the  PERQ and Three Rivers.

Re Compiler Compilers (Translator Writing Systems) there were three early ones:

Syntax-Directed Compilation by Alick Glennie while he was at Carnegie-Mellon
PSYCO by Ned Irons

Pretty well al the others developed from one of those three.

While I was at Carnegie Tech, Mary Shaw and many others were working on a large TWS project called CABAL.

The photos of the 1108 were taken in September 1967 if I remember correctly just before I left. It was a big event mainly because the bays were too large to go in the lift thus the roof drop. Quite a few people came out to watch.

I had got to to know Dave Nickerson quite well and persuaded him to let me up on the roof to take some photos. I thought it might be a one-off event.

Dave later left and started a computer shop (when there weren't such things) in a shopping mall. See attached. This was taken some time in 1970.

    From:    "J. Chris Hausler" <>
    Subject:    Re: Univac 1108 Through the Roof
    Date:    Sat, 6 Sep 2014 20:05:14 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

Hi Mark,

Bob's photos are a neat addition to the site.  If, as he says, he left before the end of September 67, the lift certainly did occur in September 67 because I wouldn't have arrived on campus for my sophomore year before about Labor Day that year and I definitely remember the crane and I believe I recall seeing at least preparations around the lift although I do not recall whether I actually was watching while the lifting was going on.

I also remember the CABAL project.  At one time I had some kind of manual or documentation on it but probably don't anymore as I never was in any way involved (I don't remember the TWS acronym but I do recall it being called a "compiler compiler"). 

When cleaning out my parents home after their passing a decade ago, I did throw out a fair amount of my old computer documentation (and many other things from my time at CIT/CMU, like all my class notes), particularly when it referenced things which I never or rarely used (and thus most 360 stuff, both CMU and IBM, hit the bin, although I did save a 360 instruction reference card :-) or in which I otherwise had no interest.  I also, sadly, threw out many issues of "Data Flag" the periodic Comp Center newsletter which might have been useful for determining dates of events and maybe names as well.  As a certified pack rat I've learned you can only fit so much "shit" in a bag and then you need to dispose of some of the old stuff before adding anything new :-)

73, Chris Hausler
Date:            Sat, 06 Sep 2014 17:49:37 -0700
From:            Roy <>
Subject:         Re: Univac 1108 Through the Roof

Hi all

I remember the Fastrand coming through the roof but didn't know the 1108 had to come that way too.

During my tenure at IBM, I came across the specifications on maximum weight and size limits so the a finished unit would fit in a "standard" elevator.  Most of the IBM machine rooms I saw were accessible from a loading dock but I did work in several which were on upper floors so I was thankful we never had a problem moving units around.

From:            "David Chou" <>
Subject:         RE: Univac 1108 Through the Roof
Date:            Sun, 7 Sep 2014 16:04:04 -0700

I think the 360 came in through the roof too.  This one of the big problem with getting computers into Scaife Hall, since there were no service elevators (and the regular elevators weren’t too reliable either - I got stuck in them several times).  This made most of the space on the third floor unusable for computers.  I also heard that the load factor had been exceeded by the time they were finished.

From:    "J. Chris Hausler" <>
Subject:    Re: Univac 1108 Through the Roof
Date:    Sun, 7 Sep 2014 20:34:40 -0400 (GMT-04:00)

Hi Dave,

I hate to contradict you but I do not recall that the 360 came in through the roof.  And, it certainly left via the elevator.  As Roy pointed out IBM had their act somewhat better together as to machine packaging.  When I arrived as a newly minted freshman in fall 66, the area where the 360 was to be was all torn up as they were installing the power, lighting and false floor for it.  I definitely saw the area before the machine arrived.  Although I remember the crane when the 1108 was installed I have no such memory of any such thing with the 360.  And the G-20 and 7040 left via the elevator too and the PDP-10's both came and left via the elevator.  At first I had thought that the Fastrand had also been taken down the elevator when the 1108 was moved to Wean in 1971 but as I have thought more about it, I pretty sure we left it in Scaife, so it may have been removed later through the roof as well.  Unfortunately, I left CMU about six or so weeks after that day of disassembling the 1108.  I know all the machines were gone from Scaife before I left but that may not have included the Fastrand.  I do not remember a crane showing up before the time I left.  It may never have made the move either as others (see chat with Al Crew on 1108 page) seem to recall it never showed up in Wean.  What's more, the forth floor of Scaife was still a "wasteland" when I left Pittsburgh the end of July 71, nothing had yet been done to "repurpose" it, so maybe the Fastrand was still sitting there.  When I came back to the campus for the first time five years later (1976, when I took those three photos of the 1108/360 next to each other in Wean) I also do not recall seeing a Fastrand.

As to the poor Scaife elevator, I remember I and other bored adolescents getting on top of the car in the middle of the night and taking manual control of it more than once :-)  At a certain up/down oscillation frequency, the cables exhibited a nice stretchiness which could result in greater than normal accelerations ;-)  This could be somewhat disconcerting to those riding in the car being they were unaware of our presence...  There was a guy who worked at the comp center at least in the mid 60's whose first name was Harry.  I recall that one night Pat and Harry and I were doing this and Harry, being somewhat drunk, told us to leave him hanging from the cross beam which supported the elevator cable pulleys at the top of the shaft.  We, being somewhat drunk, did so.  I think we got the car down to about the second floor when he started whining for us to come back and get him...

Whether us playing with it made it less reliable, I don't know.  I do know that same poor Scaife elevator is still doing yeoman service to this day...

73, Chris Hausler
Date:    Mon, 8 Sep 2014 13:26:04 -0400 (GMT-04:00)
From:    "J. Chris Hausler" <>
Subject:    UNIVAC Exec II folklore

Hi Mark,
Those photos of the "lift" of the 1108 got me to thinking and I came across the following site which gives insight into the history of the creation of EXEC II which is the OS which CMU ran on the 1108. It might make an interesting link on the 1108 page:

The EXEC II manual can be downloaded in a number of formats from:

73, Chris

   The January 2015 issue of Carnegie Mellon Today had an article, "One Moore Milestone" about the new dean of the School of Computer Science, Andrew Moore. Of particular interest in the article were a few short paragraphs on the history of computers at CMU. Chris first wrote to our Athena mailing list about the article:

Hi All,

The current issue of Carnegie Mellon Today has an article (the cover article in fact) about the new head of the CS department, Andrew Moore (appropriate first name :-), a Brit.  Anyway, it includes a little history of the CS department which I though you all might find interesting.  It seems to confirm my belief due to a photo I saw years ago that at least the first G-20 was delivered to GSIA as before Scaife Hall apparently GSIA was home to the budding computer group.  It also mentions the delivery of the 1108 through the roof in 67.  No mention is made of other machines at that time other than the original IBM 650 (which I assume is the one which ended up in HH53 but was decommissioned by the time I arrived in fall 66 although there were still pieces of it lying around.).  To read the whole issue go to: .

Here's the excerpt I clipped:

The age of computing was taking shape, and on its cutting edge stood three visionaries at the Carnegie Institute of Technology—Herbert Simon, Allen Newell, and Alan Perlis. In June of that year, the three men would officially launch a new and world-changing discipline on campus—the department of computer science, one of the first in the United States.

Social scientist Herbert Simon had come to Carnegie Tech in 1949 to help establish the Graduate School of Industrial Administration (GSIA). As the electronic computer emerged in the 1950s, physicist/mathematician Allen Newell arrived. Together, he and Simon pioneered the field of artificial intelligence in 1956, the first version simulated by Simon’s wife and kids with handwritten 3x5 cards. That same year, the university’s first computer, an IBM 650, was delivered to the basement of GSIA. Simon recruited chemist/mathematician Alan Perlis to head the university’s new Computation Center, and in 1958, Perlis began offering the first freshman-level computer-programming course in the nation. Word spread quickly on campus.

“I was sitting in the fraternity house and someone came in and said, ‘I’m taking this night class from this crazy bald-headed guy,’” recalls James Morris, CMU professor of computer science and 1963 alumnus. “I said, ‘I’m going to do this—this is really cool.’ Newell and Simon were conducting seminars, and anybody could attend. There was a great enthusiasm because Newell, Simon, and Perlis were just amazing people. They attracted hundreds of us.”

Young men gathered in that basement, tediously punching out cards on keypunch machines, with Simon right alongside them. In the era of Einstein and Sputnik, bright young people flocked in droves to physics. But this uncharted territory of computing, though not much more than programming, was tantalizing. “When I started, it was like building log cabins—really fun. It was like the wild frontier,” says Morris.

In 1961, the Computation Center and its newest machine, a Bendix G-20, were elevated from the basement—literally—to the top floor of just-completed Scaife Hall. Four years later, as tiny Andrew Moore was learning to crawl, Simon, Newell, and Perlis elevated the discipline itself, forming the university’s new computer science department (CSD). Department head Perlis had just a handful of faculty. The new doctoral program (no master’s degrees or undergraduates) attracted its first students from an interdisciplinary computing degree begun a few years earlier that combined mathematics, psychology, business, and electrical engineering. “In later years, Simon joked that we were giving PhDs in computer science before the university even knew about it,” Morris smiles.

In 1967, students of the brand-new Carnegie Mellon University (Carnegie Tech had merged with the Mellon Institute of Industrial Research) were treated to an unusual sight by an unusual department: CSD’s new computer was delivered to Scaife Hall—lowered by crane through a hole in the roof.

As the new discipline took root through the 1970s, young Andrew Moore was growing up in Bournemouth, a seaside town where his parents—both teachers—had taken positions. It was the type of densely populated British town where bikes outnumbered cars and neighbors were welcome. Disco was sweeping the United States and England during the “Me decade,” energy was in crisis, and Margaret Thatcher would become prime minister. Moore, while talented in math, was more smitten by his drama classes and the lure of the footlights. He and his friends loved taping and splicing homemade audio productions. They also loved American television and the excitement of the space program. “I really wished I was an American,” Moore admits. “It was so cool.”

In this decade, the first email was sent over the Internet’s precursor, the Arpanet; Xerox researchers (Jim Morris among them) created the Alto, the first commercial computer with graphical user interface; and Apple debuted the Macintosh during Super Bowl XVIII. CSD found a new home when construction finished on Science Hall (now Wean) and Professor Raj Reddy, who had joined the faculty in 1969, founded the Robotics Institute, an entity that would become the world’s largest robotics research and education organization, with headquarters dubbed the “Raj Mahal.”

73, Chris Hausler
Chris wrote a letter to the editor of Carnegie Mellon Today and it was published in the May 2015 issue:

Moore Milestones

As always, I enjoy Carnegie Mellon Today. I was particularly interested in the cover story of the January 2015 issue, “One Moore Milestone.” In the article is an overview of the School of Computer Science’s history—first as a department, then as its own school. One part of the story mentions the delivery of a computer through the roof of Scaife in 1967. I remember it well. This was the Univac 1108. While at school in the late 1960s, I worked for several years as a part-time computer operator, mostly on that machine. Another CMU graduate, Mark Divecchio (E’70), maintains a website that is a remembrance of computers at CMU during that time period, and I am a frequent contributor.

V12n2 Inbox

One of the website’s pages (#1108) has photos taken by a visiting Brit of that “through the roof” installation—crane and all! The link to page 1108 is: (scroll to the bottom, to view the photos).

FYI: The website got its start as a remembrance of the Univac Athena, which the head of the electrical engineering department at the time got in the mid-1960s. The Athena was the launch control computer for the Titan 1 ICBM and—though developed in the late 1950s—was already obsolete by the mid ’60s, due to the Minuteman ICBM system. Our Athena, or at least a portion of it, is buried somewhere in the Smithsonian’s storage. In the early 1970s, the then-head of the electrical engineering department wanted it gone so the materials labs could be expanded into that area. One of our colleagues working in the Washington, D.C., area managed to get some of it to the Smithsonian.)

—J. Chris Hausler (E’71)
  Henrietta, N.Y.

That letter from Chris prompted some emails:

From: Murray Spiegel <>
Sent: May 10, 2015 9:19:08 PM GMT+06:30
Subject: 1108/360 at CMU

Hi Mark:

I'm certain you're going to get a lot of emails from other folks who worked at the computer center as a result of the Alumni News article. Fabulous coverage, and great that you have this archive.

I was at CMU from 69-72; don't remember when I first started working at the comp center, but I have many fond memories.

A few of them:

Here's one story I've told many times about the move:

The IBM guys said the center would be down for a few (2, 3?) days for IBM's methodical moving and testing of the 360.  So someone figured it'd be a good time to replace the bulbs on the 1108's panel, some of which had burned out.

The bulbs were also switches - by pressing in those in one row, an operator could enter instructions into the accumulator, if all other input mechanisms weren't working.  So, while the 1108 wasn't in active operation - perhaps while its other components were being hooked up - whoever had the idea pressed all the switch/bulbs to light them up while the 1108 wasn't in active operation.  A few didn't light up and new ones were soldered in.

Many hours later, after all the other items pertaining to the move were taken care of, the Univac was booted up.  And the 1108 immediately crashed.  Time and time again.  People checked all the connections to the peripherals, everything they could think of.  Hours and hours of testing and head scratching.

The end of the puzzle was this.  Someone remembered that the bulbs had been replaced, starting with pushing in the accumulator switches. When they reviewed the process, they discovered a hidden time bomb of sorts.  When the 1108 was built at the factory, one of the switches had been installed upside down.  When it was pushed in, it lit up, and stuck in the on position.

When the 1108 was booted up, it didn't take many instructions for that 1-bit to create an illegal instruction and the Univac crashed. Because the switch had never been pushed in, it was years before that factory error to came to light. (So to speak :)

A second story:

Not long after Miss American Pie came out, I came back to the comp center and, with Dean Hiller's assistance, we connected an A-to-D converter to a cassete player, and stored some of the song on the IBM's massive platter arrays.  We filled up a third of the University's main storage with Don McLean.  In my eyes, nothing illustrates better the enormous increase in storage over the years than this anecdone.  How much of the song filled up that much storage?  20 seconds!

A third:

Your correspondants mention the 1108 was often(primarily?) used by the Physics dept.  My bachelors was in Physics, and as a personal favor to my teachers, I often made sure their plot jobs were expedited.  They were predicting the optimal location of magnets for their high energy physics experiments, and the frequent plots allowed them to make adjustments more quickly.

They were so pleased that they gave me a gift of a trip to Argonne National Laboratory when their experiment was running.  Great!  Except that Argonne was outside of Chicago, and their experiment ran for 2 weeks in the dead of winter.  I still remember a handout I received that showed how fast flesh froze when exposed to the winds at sub-zero temps.  Thrilling times.

Thanks for listening!
- Murray Spiegel
Subject:         Re: CMU Computer Center  1968 - 1974 (My tenure there)
Date:            Tue, 12 May 2015 19:22:07 -0400
From:            "Dean Hiller" <>

If I remember correctly, the LCS was originally IBM's product. It was then replaced with 4 Ampex ECM boxes. I think the LCS had an 8us access time whereas the Ampex ECM was 1us,  though I could be wrong about the 1us.

I don't remember the size of LCS or of the ECM, but going to the ECM increased the amount of available memory along with the speed of access.

Dean's correct. I had forgotten about the Ampex boxes.  I now can picture exactly where they were in room, right behind the CPU, and remember marvelling at their modulelar structure: 64K memory drawers the size of a large briefcase.

Jim McCrossin
On Tue, 12 May 2015 18:26:45 -0400, James McCrossin <> 


Dean Hiller sent me a link to  your web page which I thouroughly enjoyed reading.

I would like to document some things in greater detail, but thought I  would share some facts that I remembered while reading through the info behind the above link.

1) The DAT box was always open when running TSS on the 360/67 for diagnostic and show purposes, not heat concerns.  At a glance you could see if the system was running (looping) in Virtual Mode or Supervisor Mode.  Startup was a long process and you looked for that transition to Virtual Mode then the DAT lights started blinking.  Acutually, the lights on the DAT that were most visible show the status of the associative array that hardware translated virtual addresses to real physical addresses.

2) The Large Core Storage were definitely IBM devices.  I had remembered them as 4 x 2MB, but they very well could have been 1 x 1MB as documented on your site.  They  had a 8 microsecond cycle (4 interleaved). The main core storage was .75 microsecond access.  Originally the LCS was supported as a drum replacement.  The 360 had a storage channel that was an I/O device controller that simply moved data from one location in CORE memory to another, without CPU involvement.  Al Vareha made modifications to TSS that allowed it to execute directly in LCS.  He did quite a lot of analysis on the trade offs of executing there directly, or moving the data to main CORE memory to execute.

3) TSS connected its timesharing terminals via a 2703 controller.  It was my job to eliminate this expensive device with a PDP11 front end.  I am guessing sometime near 1971. Rolland Findlay started the project and passed it to me to finish. DEC had a  device (DX11) that appeared to be a 360 I/O device.  So the PDP11 frontend pacektized all the terminal communications and TSS was modified to accept these packets as real terminal traffic. Of course everything was programmed in Assembly Language both on the PDP 11 and the 360.  The PDP assemblies were done on the CS PDP10.

4) When we moved the 1108 and 360 from Scaife Hall  into Science Hall in (1971?), I don't know when the name was changed to Wean so I assume it was after I left in July, 1974.

5) We also had a small timesharing system running on a PDP8.  Really unbelievable!

6) There was also a Cobol based computer used for student registration. Dan Whitehead led a group to port the Cobol programs to an "open source" version of Cobol for TSS.

7) I remember Dave King and Bill Pringle.  Bill arranged for a delivery of an entire box car of computer paper during a shortage.  We stored it in the expansion area and it lasted for over a year!

Jim McCrossin

Hi Mark (and All),

I enjoyed Murray's story about the stuck lamp/switch on the 1108. I had not heard that before. My very last contact with the 1108 was that day in Scaife disassembling it which I believe occurred sometime in June 71 after the majority of the students had left for the summer. Although they trusted us CS engineering techs with the disassembly I believe the Univac CE's were hired to reassemble it. I moved back here to Rochester, NY during July that year (driving home with another car load of stuff each weekend as I was still working for the CS lab during the week) and don't even know when the 1108 was reassembled in Wean (I too remember that it was called Science Hall at the time and do not know when it became Wean.). In fact once I quit my computer operators job in summer 70, I had little to do with the Comp Center machines. All my programming from that point on, what there was of it, was on the PDP-10 and briefly playing with the brand new PDP-11 in the CS engineering lab while still in Porter Hall (the lab was moved to Wean a little earlier in spring 71). For most of that spring I also had a "Data Port", a "portable" terminal in two carry cases, one a KSR 33 and the other a discrete component acoustic couple modem, in the apartment on Rippey St. Sadly I had to give it back when I left, it would have made a nice collectable :-) They had only been developed a few years before but with the arrival of affordable raster scan async video terminals had become quickly obsolete (which is the only reason I allowed to get my hands on one :-)

Yes, Murray, the progression of storage density boggles my mind too. I think I mentioned that Western Digital terabyte USB drive I've now had for about 5 years on the 1108 page. I think one can get several terabyte drives these days but I am a long way from filling up the first one (I use it as a back-up device). I think I mentioned somewhere that my first hobby computer in early 77, a Motorola 6800D2 kit, had a grand total of 640 bytes of RAM :-)

Of all the computers in Scaife, the one I spent the least time with was the 360 (although I had a summer job for two summers as a 360 operator for Kodak, a 44 and 50 the first year and a 65 the second). Jim McCrossin mentioned that LCS had originally looked like a drum on the 360/67. I recall that the 360/67 at least in Scaife had a drum unit installed but I do not know if or when it was removed or anything further about it. Other than a brief stab at learning it's assembly language in 67 and that try and fail at Algol 68 as well as playing with both its poor RJE and pathetic at the time TSS in 68, and than occasionally being its operator I didn't use it. Unfortunately as a result about 15 years ago I threw out most all my 360 docs, both IBM and CIT/CMU (you can only fit so much shit in a bag and I keep adding more which requires unloading some occasionally :-)

Jim, I wonder if that PDP8 timesharing system was something called TS8 (not the better known TSS/8). See:

I also thought that the registration system was run on the IBM 1401 in the basement of Warner which WRCT had used earlier for a record library system written by Dave Rodgers. I thought most of the code running on it was written in "autocoder" but I do believe that there was a Cobol available for it.

73, Chris Hausler

When the IBM 360 was in Scaife Hall, the IBM drum which was in one smaller cabinet and was lost behind the large number of disk drives (initially 2314s and later 3330s) and the LCS cabinets.  We could tell the Ampex cabinets apart because they were a slightly different shade of blue.  There were 4 Ampex boxes with an amazing 2MB (!) each, so we had a fabulous 8MB of memory.  The book below gives the history and lists the Ampex LCS as having 3ms access times.  Like the rest of the 360, this hardware resided in some stagnant state because of software problems.  I also remember that hardware tech personnel were always there fixing the boxes and at least one box always seemed to have been out of service. 

IBM's 360 and Early 370 Systems by Emerson W. Pugh, Lyle R. Johnson, John H. Palmer

David Chou (my tenure 1964-1970)
Actually the initial disks were the 2311.  There was also a 2321 Data Cell for a while.  They were all replaced by the 2314.  While working for IBM in San Jose (home of the storage people), you never mentioned the Data Cell in mixed company.

IBM's LCS was the 2361 and it was 2MB with 8us cycle time.

The early OS360 systems that we used were MFT (which also ran HASP)and then MFT/II were pretty unaware of LCS.  TSS/360 was the big LCS user.  There was also some time spent running PTSS (Pitt Time Sharing System) but I don't know if it used LCS.  PTSS was only run for a semester or two.

Roy Engehausen
Also the ancient Bendix G21 (~5 years older than the 360) had memories with 6 ms access times.

Dave Chou
Ah, the G20, at last something that I remember. 

Not only did the G20 have a 6 ms memory access time, but the 64 (yes 64) index registers were actually the first 64 words in core.  So an indexed instruction added an additional memory access to the execution time. 

I think the only thing I have left from the G20 is a "That" manual. 

Bob McFarland
As an early 360 operator/tester trying to get TSS to work (it didn’t), I distinctly remember keeping the DAT display open because it would give us a few minutes lead time to reboot the system.  Since the system was crashing multiple times per hour, we learned that when the lights stopped blinking and the console wasn’t responding, the system had crashed.  Ironically, I found one other picture of the 67 (not Carnegie) and it too had the DAT display open.

My mind is full of useless information.

Dave  Chou
I wrote to Bob Hopgood to tell him about the article. He replied:


That is an excellent article. Really enjoyed reading it. Brought back many fond memories.
Pleased to see the photos are still being looked at ;-)


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