Technology history of the Birmingham PP group
... in terms of ...
- IBM 360/44: 1967-1974, running OS/MFT, RAM c128kB,
background jobs 34 kB.
- Nova 1220, Nova 3: for ascii device attachment via 4025 IBM
channel interface, 1970s and early 1980s
- PDP11/40: (three) for film analysis: YARD and VAST systems. HPD
scanning system was via IBM (till c1981).
- IBM 370/145: 1974-1981, initially 384 kB, 4 channels, 4x100MB total disk; 6x200MB disk in 1980; upgraded
Jan 1979 from 1 MB to 1.5 MB RAM (including 1MB Memorex).
Running VS/1 system, with up to around 512 kB virtual storage
- DEC VAX 11/750 (4MB memory) and VAXstations, c1985-.
- IBM 4341 (model 1, 2 MB RAM, 6x200MB disk) (model 11, 6 chan, 8MB RAM, 3.6 GB disk in 1987) (16MB in 1988),: installed January 1981, cost approx 210k UKP, running VM/SP,
with VS/1 system (till 1985) plus many VM/CMS users,
running in individual virtual machines.
- 370E processors: #1 1985, #2 1988 (4 MB), hardware design
by Weizmann Institute
construction by RAL;
operating system software by DB at RAL and LSL at Birmingham,
cost 20k UKP for 4MB system, speed 2 x 4341.
- IBM 4381: model 22 in 1988; model 92E in 1992 (32MB, 12
channels), running VM/ESA.
- HP 755, 715/75, J200/J282, C200, C360: 1994-c2003, running
HP-UX flavour of Unix.
- Linux servers epix and eprex: 2000-now.
- IBM 3330: 1974-: 4 x 100 MB upgraded to 4 x 200 MB,
[57*4kB per cyl]
- IBM 3375: 1980s: 16 x 959 cyl, [96*4kB per cyl]
- IBM 3380: late 1980s to early 1990s, 8 x 885 cyl and 8 x 1770
cyl, [150*4kB per cyl] (pictured)
- HP SCSI external drives : 1994-1998, 4 x 4 GB
- Andataco towers: 1995-2002, progressing through 8x4, 6x9,
2x18, 4x50, 2x73 GB SCSI drives
- Network Appliance RAID: 2001-2005, 1TB RAID with 36GB disks
- Infortrend RAIDs: 2001-now: ranging from 0.73TB to 72TB per
- IBM round tapes 1600Bpi, 40MB per 2400 foot tape (10kB block
- IBM round tapes 6250Bpi, 144MB per 2400 foot tape (10kB block
- IBM square tapes 38kBpi, 1984-1990s, raw capacity 200MB per
- DDS1, DDS2, DDS3: raw capacity 1.3-2GB, 4GB, 12GB per tape
- DLT tape: raw capacities: (III) 10GB (IV) 40GB per tape
- Ultrium LTO-1: raw 100GB per tape
- Sony S-AIT: raw 500GB per tape
- Ultrium LTO-5: raw 1.5 TB per tape
Job control and Scripting languages
- IBM JCL under OS/VS1 (JOB and EXEC and DD statements)
- CRJE scripts (Conversational Remote Job Entry system)
- EXEC and EXEC2 script languages under VM/CMS
- REXX language
under VM/CMS, developer Mike Cowlishaw (Birmingham graduate, IBM
- Shell scripts (sh, ksh, bash, tcsh) under HP-UX and GNU/Linux
Program editing and development systems
- RAEDIT editor, and RHREMOTE compilation and testing, developed
- CRJE (Conversational Remote Job Entry): editor, job
submission, and job output viewing (c1978-c1983)
- VM/CMS (Virtual Machine Conversational Monitor System)
- HP-UX Unix (1994-c2003)
- GNU/Linux (2000 onwards)
- Tektronix 4002 and 4010 on
wheelable trolleys, 1970s
- Cifer terminals, 24x80 text only, desktop, via a ~1 MHz
in-house slotted-ring network (PJ)
- IBM 3270
terminals and Memorex equivalents, text only, c1981-1990, via RG62
cable. 16 in number in 1987.
- Megatek 6000 3-D graphics display, 7000 in 1981, 7500 in 1988
terminals, text and graphics, mid-late 1980s, via IBM 7171 DACU
multi-port RS232 device (1986-1995), 32 in number in 1987
- HP X-terminals (1994 to early 200x): 1024x768 and 1280x1024
- PC monitors (2000 onwards): 1280x1024 and 1920x1080 resolution
- Megabit slotted ring for terminal traffic (developed in-house
by PJ) (1970s)
- Cambridge ring
for several peripherals (implemented by RJS) (1980s)
PACX terminal network (300 ports, 19.2kb/s) for Physics
(planning by JC) (c1986-c1995)
Ethernet (on RG58 cable), 10Mb/s, for Physics (planning by
LSL, 1990) and campus
- Fast Ethernet (on twisted pair), 100Mb/s, for campus (planning
by IT Services)
- Gigabit Ethernet within PP server room (c2001-), initially for
our ALICE and ATLAS farms
- TenGigabit Ethernet within the PP server room and
cross-campus, for GRID traffic (2012-)
Wide area networks
- SDLC via HASP / MAST to RAL (1970s), 4.8-9.6kb/s, supporting
remote job entry, and ELECTRIC system (editing, email)
- SERCnet X.25 (locally via Edinburgh protocol-converter)
(1983-) supporting Coloured Book protocols (ftp, email, pad)
- JIPS (JANET IP Service) (locally via IBM 3172 Interconnect
Controller) (1991-1993) (ftp, telnet)
- SuperJANET / JANET (1993-now)
- IBM 1403 N1 printer, c1975-1985, fan-fold paper, 1100 lpm
(1400 lpm with UCS train), so approx 21 pages/minute.
- Benson-Lehner drum plotter, c1975-1990.
Also Digiplot plotter (c1987).
- Tally 2000 and 3000, HP Laserjet 2000, Qume daisy-wheel, QMS
- HP Laserjet 3si, 5si, 4300, Xerox 850, 8550, 8870.
- Our fastest printer (in 2013) runs at 33-43 pages per minute:
just twice the speed of IBM 1403.
Computer servers located in Uni Computer Centre
till 1972, cost 500k, core memory 32 kwords = 192 kB, 32MB disk,
20 console-typewriters on campus
- ICL 1906A: 1972-1983
- DEC 2050: 1978-198x
- Honeywell Multics: 1983-1989: 28MB RAM, 6GB
- IBM 3090: c1990
- e-Science farm and Midlands e-Science Centre, estab 2003 by
Computer Science, Physics & Astronomy, and others.
- BlueBEAR 1: 2007-2012, 1500 cores, 140 TB disk. (Contract signing photo,
- BlueBEAR 2: 2012-now.