31 Jan '18, 8pm

A Slide Rule for Real Programmers

need a slide rule? When it is the UNIVAC II. This special-purpose 1950s circular slide rule from Remington Rand was used by programmers to optimize how the room-size mainframe executed instructions. The computer had a drum memory that was constantly rotating, and the most efficient program would position the drum so that the next instruction would begin executing wherever the current instruction finished. Instructions were thus scattered across the drum and not physically adjacent to each other. To minimize rotational delays, a programmer had to figure out each instruction’s execution time in order to queue up the next command, an approach called minimum latency programming. The slide rule was intended to help programmers make those calculations.

Full article: https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-history/silicon-revolution...

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