Old mainframes in Finland

Tomasz Rola rtomek at ceti.pl
Sat Oct 10 11:49:10 CDT 2020

On Thu, Oct 08, 2020 at 01:10:55PM -0400, Paul Koning via cctalk wrote:
> > On Oct 8, 2020, at 12:08 PM, Jim Manley via cctalk <cctalk at classiccmp.org> wrote:
> > 
> > If you try to access the paper describing the 2017 - 2018 restoration work,
> > you soon crash into an academic publication paywall, but if you're
> > persistent enough, as my frugal, self-funded computing and robotics
> > students and I are, you will eventually find this link to the PDF of the
> > paper at the authors' institution, Akademia Górniczo-Hutnicza University of
> > Science and Technology in Kraków, Poland:
> > 
> > http://senster.agh.edu.pl/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/ms_version_Senster_Reactivation_of_a_Cybernetic_Sculpture_Leonardo.pdf
> > 
> > Enjoy!
> > Jim  KJ7JHE
> Wonderful, thanks.

Yay! This is my alma mater. Over time, I have lost any connections I
could have there but I am glad each time I see the new kids (and
cadre) mentioned (especially that mentions are positive :-) ).

> I noticed the article mentions that the original source code exists
> but was not used.  The reasons don't seem all that compelling; it
> would seem possible to run the original in an emulator.  Getting the
> timing accurate is something SIMH can do pretty well.

As I had a look at the diary page of Senster Project [
http://senster.agh.edu.pl/dzienniki/ ], there is a note from
2018-08-09, where inscription on the picture says a number of
actuators were missing or defunct. So I guess they went with all new
hydraulics (or other kind of moving parts - I am yet to see if there
is more details on this) and thus pairing them with simulation of old
computer might have not make too much sense. Aha, I spotted "stepper
motor" on the same drawing. So, at least some actuators were new.

As a side note, Polish wikipedia [1] gives some more depth to the
biography of Edward Ihnatowicz, the author of original
sculpture. Among other things, at the age of twelve he started going
for a year to gymnasium for cadets (a military school), in a city of
Lwow (nowadays: Lviv, Ukraine) - a school was said to put a lot of
attention to the discipline and high level of teaching [2]. His father
being an officer in Polish Army, in 1939 became POW in Soviet Union,
later murdered there. Mother and son fleed to Romania, later
transferred to Algeria. In 1943, transferred to Great Britain. There,
his mother joined Polish Armed Forces and Edward was sent to
college. After the war, he went on to learn drawing, married, tried
himself as a business owner, movie/tv producer, and then became a
cybernetic artist and research assistant at University College
London. While he was there, he made two of his three mentioned works,
The Senster and The Bandit. The Senster had been dismantled in 1973
and was considered to be lost for a number of years. The Bandit was
interesting too, because it tried to guess a gender and temperament
from behaviour of interacting human, and was said to be correct quite
often. Very cybernetic!

[1] https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Ihnatowicz

[2] As a side to a side note, Polish philosopher and writer
specialising in cybernetics-related subjects (Stanislaw Lem), also
resided in Lwow during first twenty-four years of his life. Could it
be, that a place was somewhat inspiring to certain kind of
developments? Lwow was also a site for one of three Polish schools of
mathemathics (Lwowian, Warsovian and Cracovian being the names of
them). Stanislaw Ulam, a member of it, emigrated to USA and worked in
Los Alamos (nukes, thermo-nukes, Monte Carlo method, numerical
computations, project Orion etc). Together with John von Neumann he
was involved in formulating a concept of cellular authomata:


  Stanislaw Ulam, while working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory
  in the 1940s, studied the growth of crystals, using a simple lattice
  network as his model.[8] At the same time, John von Neumann, Ulam's
  colleague at Los Alamos, was working on the problem of
  self-replicating systems.[9] Von Neumann's initial design was
  founded upon the notion of one robot building another robot. This
  design is known as the kinematic model.[10][11] As he developed this
  design, von Neumann came to realize the great difficulty of building
  a self-replicating robot, and of the great cost in providing the
  robot with a "sea of parts" from which to build its
  replicant. Neumann wrote a paper entitled "The general and logical
  theory of automata" for the Hixon Symposium in 1948.[9] Ulam was the
  one who suggested using a discrete system for creating a
  reductionist model of self-replication.[12][13] Nils Aall Barricelli
  performed many of the earliest explorations of these models of
  artificial life.





Tomasz Rola

** A C programmer asked whether computer had Buddha's nature.      **
** As the answer, master did "rm -rif" on the programmer's home    **
** directory. And then the C programmer became enlightened...      **
**                                                                 **
** Tomasz Rola          mailto:tomasz_rola at bigfoot.com             **

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