IBM 7030 Stretch

related topics
{system, computer, user}
{company, market, business}
{math, number, function}
{game, team, player}
{ship, engine, design}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}

The IBM 7030, also known as Stretch, was IBM's first transistorized supercomputer. The first one was delivered to Los Alamos in 1961.

Originally priced at $13.5 million, its failure to meet its aggressive performance estimates forced the price to be dropped to only $7.78 million and its withdrawal from sales to customers beyond those having already negotiated contracts. Even though the 7030 was much slower than expected, it was the fastest computer in the world from 1961 until the first CDC 6600 became operational in 1964.


Development history

Dr. Edward Teller at the University of California Radiation Laboratory in Livermore, California wanted a new scientific system for three-dimensional hydrodynamic calculations. Proposals were requested for this new system, to be called Livermore Automatic Reaction Calculator or LARC, from both IBM and UNIVAC. Expected to cost roughly $2.5 million and running at one to two MIPS, delivery was to be two to three years after the contract was signed.

At IBM, a small team at Poughkeepsie including John Griffith and Gene Amdahl worked on the design proposal. Just after they finished and were about to present the proposal, Ralph Palmer stopped them and said, "It's a mistake." The proposed design would have been built with either point-contact transistors or surface barrier transistors, both likely to be soon outperformed by the then newly invented diffusion transistors. The team showed Livermore the proposed design to illustrate the kind of system IBM was capable of building but said, "We are not going to build that machine for you; we want to build something better! We do not know precisely what it will take but we think it will be another million dollars and another year, and we do not know how fast it will run but we would like to shoot for ten million instructions per second."

In May 1955, IBM lost the bid because of this unanticipated change of direction in their proposal. UNIVAC, the dominant computer manufacturer at the time, had won the contract for LARC, now called the Livermore Automatic Research Computer, a decimal computer.

Full article ▸

related documents
Turbo Pascal
Object Management Group
Berkeley DB
LEO (computer)
Computing platform
Samba (software)
Wireless broadband
Instructions per second
Extended Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code
Bit stuffing
Amiga Advanced Graphics Architecture
Backward compatibility
Line code
Connection Machine
Adobe FrameMaker
Communications in Singapore
Single UNIX Specification
International Mobile Subscriber Identity
Commodore 1571
Automatic call distributor
V5 interface