Half-century milestone for IBM mainframes

Half-century milestone for IBM mainframes

IBM S360 mainframeMainframes were the workhorses of business for many years
The IBM mainframe is celebrating its 50th anniversary.  The first System 360 mainframe was unveiled on 7 April 1964 and its arrival marked a break with all general purpose computers that came before.

The machines made it possible to upgrade the processors but still keep using the same code and peripherals from earlier models. Later this year the British rival to IBM’s machine, the ICL 1900, also celebrates its 50th anniversary. Despite their age, mainframes are still in wide use now, said Barry Heptonstall, a spokesman for IBM.  “I don’t think people realise how often during the day they interact with a mainframe,” he said.  Mr Heptonstall said mainframes were behind many of the big information systems that keep the modern world humming and handled such things as airline reservations, cash machine withdrawals and credit card payments. The machines were very good at doing small-scale transactions, such as adding or taking figures away from bank balances, over and over again, he said.

Read more:  Half-century milestone for IBM mainframes


Cyril - IBM 360 July 1970Flashback : This picture of  Cyril Bryan was taken on July 30, 1970.  Here, he is at the operating console of an IBM 360/20 mainframe computer at the Toronto offices of William Mercer (now MERCER), Actuarial Consultants, then a subsidiary of Marsh McLennan  (now MARSH).  The offices were then located at 7 King Street East, Toronto. Ontario. Canada.

Cyril had recently graduated from York University, in Toronto, where he obtained  an Economics (Hons) degree. He liked programming while at University and this job launched him into a lifelong career in Information Technology:  computer programming, systems analysis, networking and management in mainframes, mini-computers and micros. In his hand is a programming board for IBM’s Unit record tabulating equipment [read more], which was replaced by this IBM/360 computer.

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  • compton de castro  On 04/08/2014 at 6:44 am

    Cyril Interesting and informative…. Hey you look handsome in that dated photo….bet u broke many young girls heart ! In 1964 I was detached to RAF Cheltenham (now GCHQ) to work on their decyphering machines “Top secret” technology at the time….signatory to “official secrets act” et al….hey man I was just turned 20.

    Lots don’t know this but the “internet” idea was BRITISH …only recently saw an interview of the inventor …his concerns for where the internet is today I share….he even suggests that it is at a crossroad….and should double (omegafy) with one being centored the other free. China kicked out Google for this same reason…. the fear of “freedom” of thinking.Googling was determined as dangerous….another tinaman square … Wow wow… Today we are living in a “social media” revolution world where information is a very powerful tool…. its instant…mobile…scary for the planet.

    Hope I don’t sound a bit loopy but am sure you share the concerns of “where will it all end” if ever !

    There will be many more Snowden style “expose” of how we are being “spied on” manipulated by the media but if we are “forearmed” we are “forewarned”… Information is power how we use or abuse it the question ¿

    Salud Kamtan your response welcomed….and that knighthood is in the pipeline….

  • Abert  On 04/08/2014 at 4:51 pm

    Cyril now that I see the background you are coming from I realize what a wonderful job you are doing utilizing your expertise to this Guyanese cause. Especially after hearing the news on TV of the millions guys are making using these fast pace trading machines.

    Yesterday I ordered two books from Amazon: “The Second Machine” by McAfee et al and “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt” by Michael Lewis.
    They both involve computers. Base on what I have seen computers are replacing much of the work humans do, much more than we realize. Income Tax preparers are going out of business thanks to those programmed online tax services such as Intuit. Stock brokers are becoming obsolete thanks to online trading. I fell and sprained my thumb. It turned black and blue. Ordinarily I would have gone to the hospital but I goggled “Sprained fingers” and bingo the Mayo Clinic site told me what the doctor would have done. Now my thumb is getting better. Multiply that by millions and it show how much work doctors/hospitals are losing thanks to the computer and the information it stores and provide quickly. The question is where are the jobs of the future.

    The one that is really tantalizing are the expensive rapid machines trading on the stock market. These well paid traders have the technology to see on a monitor what stocks the ordinary traders are going to buy. This way they know where the market is going and just jump to the front of the line and buy. In a downturn they do the same thing selling short, making millions in the process. The rich get richer and the middle class remain somewhere else. This has been going on a long time but has become much more widespread. I can bet Russian programmers have much to do with it. This in part is what Michael Lewis might mean when he said the US stock market is rigged.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/08/2014 at 10:03 pm

    After all that, I feel like sharing my delusional thoughts, or slant, on advances of computer technology, as I see it, anyway. If you believe, like me, that there were civilizations before us; then you should believe, like me, that they were more advanced than we are today, before they expired.

    They say that there is no scientific evidence that mental telepathy is a real phenomenon. But, I honestly believe that civilizations before us used “mental telepathy” – that is the transmission of information from one person to another without using any of our known sensory channels or physical interaction. Nevertheless, I believe we are replicating the mental telepathy of prior civilizations through the development of computer technology, or technology in general. In other words, we lost that ability to reason and communicate in that manner some where along the way and we are now developing an alternative method through computer technology, I believe. Computer technology will allow us to improve on primitive vehicles like the rovers we deploy on other planets and explore the cosmos, among other things, I believe. [primitive by the standards of past civilizations].
    50-years on, and computer technology is still in its infancy.

  • Clyde Duncan  On 04/11/2014 at 1:46 am

    Here is an experiment you may want to try at home – unlocking your car using your brain: http://www.youtube.com/embed/0Uqf71muwWc

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