Control Data 449 Special Miniature Computer from 1967?
steven at malikoff.com
steven at malikoff.com
Fri Oct 16 20:01:10 CDT 2020
> That is way smaller than the AGS.
> From: cctalk <cctalk-bounces at classiccmp.org> on behalf of Gavin Scott via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
> Sent: Friday, October 16, 2020 6:04 AM
> To: rice43 <rice43 at btinternet.com>; General Discussion: On-Topic and Off-Topic Posts <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
> Subject: Re: Control Data 449 Special Miniature Computer from 1967?
> Or was it really just a calculator? The mode list in the ad kinda
> suggests it wasn't programmable so the human operator may have been
> required to be the program and the rest of the "system".
> On Fri, Oct 16, 2020 at 4:23 AM rice43 via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
>> ------ Original Message ------
>> From: "Steve Malikoff via cctalk" <cctalk at classiccmp.org>
>> To: cctalk at classiccmp.org
>> Sent: Friday, 16 Oct, 2020 At 08:02
>> Subject: Control Data 449 Special Miniature Computer from 1967?
>> I was idly browsing early editions of Computer World journal on Google
>> newspapers and found an announcement
>> and picture of the '449', an experimental aerospace computer built by
>> Control Data in 1967 and touted as
>> "the world's smallest computer" at 4" x 4" x 9", of which the logic part
>> is a 4" cube and the rest is the battery.
>> It's on page 3 of Computer World Sep 20 1967:
>> It seems to me it may have been an analogous machine to the Apollo AGS
>> perhaps and would like to know a bit more
>> about it, but I've only been able to find a brief mention of the '449-2
>> Special Miniature Computer' and
>> that's it. Archive.org hasn't turned up anything. I'm just curious about
>> the tech used, no doubt it used DIPs
>> or flatpack micrologic and a tiny core plane?
>> The only source i can see shows that prototypes were shipped to the US
>> Military. I imagine, from the pretty limited instruction set shown on
>> the article you linked, that it was primarily used for ballistics
>> calculations for, say, missiles or mortars. Being what i assume was a
>> military contract, i don't imagine many of these prototypes were made,
>> and details would be classified.
>> With the technology of the time, I can't imagine it had much memory even
>> compared to other small machines like the PDP-8 and AGC. The limited
>> instruction set would help keep the physical size down, but also limit
>> it's usefulness in general applications.
>> I'd suspect it was TTL based, like other (very) late 60's machines, with
>> a very limited amount of core memory.
Thanks for the comments everyone. That article, it's a good take on the origins of the minicomputer term.
I could well imagine the editors of Datamation, upon hearing CD's term 'miniature computer' shortening it to
'mini-computer' for a snappier title for their 449 article.
Also you're probably right about the intended use as a missile controller, the limited instruction set shown
would have been adequate for that purpose at the time. I suppose I saw 'aerospace' and thought such a complex
(for its physical size) machine would have been the preserve of spaceflight applications.
Now this has just got me perusing old issues of Datamation ...some amazing forgotten pieces of technology to
be found in there, like the Magnyx 4' x 3' flat panel magnetic non-volatile display from 1969. Wow!
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