Data General Nova

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The Data General Nova was a popular 16-bit minicomputer built by the American company Data General starting in 1969. The Nova was packaged into a single rack mount case and had enough power to do most simple computing tasks. The Nova became popular in science laboratories around the world, and eventually 50,000 units were sold. It was followed by the Data General Eclipse, which was similar in most ways but added virtual memory support and other features required by modern operating systems.



de Castro and the Nova’s origin

Edson de Castro was the Product Manager at Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) of their pioneering PDP-8, a 12-bit computer generally considered by most to be the first true minicomputer. De Castro was convinced, however, that it was possible to improve upon the PDP-8 by building a 16-bit minicomputer on a single board. Ken Olsen was not supportive of this project, so de Castro left DEC along with another hardware engineer, Richard Sogge, and a software engineer, Henry Burkhardt III, to found Data General (DG) in 1968. The fourth founder, Herbert Richman, had been a salesman for Fairchild Semiconductor and knew the others through his contacts with Digital Equipment.

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