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WillKemp
December 27th, 2007, 03:16 AM
Hi,

Back in the early 80s, i worked as an assembler programmer for Reuters in London. I was involved with maintenance and development of software on two platforms - one was the PDP11, but the other was a much more obscure machine and i can't remember the name of the manufacturer.

The machines in question worked together as a pair - we referred to them as "SGS", which stood for "Second Generation Slave". I believe they were designed as a front end for the IBM 360, but Reuters used them as, i guess, minicomputers.

These machines were the heart of Reuters' oldest live stock and share price reporting system - and subscribers were able to check prices via a PDP8 in their office which was connected to the SGS pair. One of the pair was what you'd call a database server nowadays and the other did the comms stuff.

As far as i remember, each machine was the size of three racks next to each other (which is probably what they were). The data was stored on a drum in one machine, and the other machine had a card reader and a teletype terminal. They both had paper tape readers. They were 16-bit machines and had a row of lights and toggle switches at the top of one rack, with a switch to change between memory location and data, plus an "enter/run" button.

The data machine was booted by toggling in a paper tape reader bootstrap and then loading the drum reader bootstrap from paper tape, then booting the OS, which was stored on the drum. The comms machine also had a three stage boot process - toggle in paper tape bootstrap, read card reader bootstrap off paper tape, then read the OS from a stack of cards. I can't remember how we got the OS onto the drum now - but i do remember we did a lot of "patching" in memory, through the front panel, for debugging etc.

These machines ran IBM 360 machine code and we did the development in 360 assembly language on an IBM 370, which was later upgraded to a 4340.

Recently i've been trying to remember the name of the manufacturer of these machines, but i just haven't got a clue - although i'm sure i'd recognise it if i saw it. I've looked through computer history sites on the web, hoping i'd come across the manufacturer's name and recognise it, but i never have. So if anyone knows, or can give me any clues, i'd be grateful.