DEC Computers

  • Ken Olson and several other MIT alumni founded DEC (Digital Equipment Corporate).
  • Grapevine says that there was a protocol in government departments to “purchase computer”.
    In order to circumvent that, DEC named their mini-computers as PDP (Programmable Digital Processors).
  • CHM (Computer History Museum) has a PDP-1 on display. Retired DEC engineers “restored” a PDP-1. The exhibit has demos :
    one for play a “primitive” Space War game,
    another for “playing” music …
  • PDP-8 is a 12-bit mini-computer used in many universities of that period.
  • PDP-11 is a 16-bit mini-computer.
    UCC acquired PDP11/70
  • VT-101 (or similar) terminals became the “new” mode of entering and running programs.
  • DEC later introduced VAX (Virtual Address eXtended) series.
  • Gordon Bell was the VAX architect and co-author of the book using CMS (Computer Memory System) and “formal” methods to describe and evaluate computer systems.
    The artifacts that he collected for the book project were displayed in DEC as BCM (Boston Computer Museum) with Gwen Bell as the Curator.
    It later became CHM (Computer History Museum) in Mountain View, California.

CHM (Computer History Museum)

  • I volunteered as a Docent for CHM for a couple of years.
    I had to give guided tours (for 45 minutes to an hour).
  • One child asked his father how fast the 10 Million Dollar computer (Cray 1) was.
    The reply, “It’s slower than your PC and your smart phone”.


KMZ wrote :

It was a shame that DEC/VAX/VMS did not take off well as some people hoped. Fortunately, Bill Gates hired VAX/VMS main architect Dave Cutler in 1988, who brought many of his team from DEC, 20+ as reported, as part of the hiring agreement of Dave Cutler.

Dave Cutler and his team developed Windows NT, New Technology – a 64bit OS, and the rest is history. He has his hands on RedDot, which be came Microsoft Azure.

Dr. Mark Russinovich, received his doctorate in 1989 from Carnegie Mellon, developed a very popular Windows utility suite called ‘SysInternals’ with his partner. This was a godsend for all Windows Systems Engineers, a Swiss Army Knife, if you will. He also had a short stint at IBM, he also wrote a series of articles comparing Windows NT with VMS?? in Windows Internals magazine. Microsoft eventually acquired the SysInternals, Mark included. Mark is now CTO of Microsoft Azure.

Categories: UCC

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