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Railway Systems

Published by Chicago (1956)

First Edition

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About this Item: Chicago, 1956. Railway Systems and Procedures Association. Proceedings. . . . [Chicago] December 1953 - October 1956. 7 issues, bound in 2 volumes. Quarter cloth, boards, laminated. Variously paginated. Text illustrations. 273 x 209 mm. Provenance: Institut f r Praktische Mathematik, Technische Hochschule, Darmstadt, with rubber stamp. VG. First edition. Just as railroads had been early adopters of mechanical calculators half a century earlier (see nos. 228-233, 311), railroads were among the first commercial customers for electronic digital computers. These issues of the Railway Systems and Procedures Association Proceedings document some of the earliest efforts to adapt electronic digital computing technology to large-scale private industry. The complex process required detailed systems analysis and perhaps the creation of special hardware and software. It also required the railroads to adapt their accounting and management procedures to the new technology. In the first issue, December 1953, the president of the organization, refers abstractly to "the Giant Brain or electronic computer." At this time no electronic digital computers had been delivered to commercial clients: the first UNIVAC I for a commercial customer (serial 8) was delivered to General Electric in 1954, representing the earliest commercial mainframe installation in the United States. The last issue in this series describes a railroad's preparations for the installation of an IBM 705 system, scheduled for October 1956. At the spring 1954 meeting Luther A. Harr, of the Electronic Computer Division Division of Remington Rand, presented a summary of the capabilities of UNIVAC in "New concepts in inventory management," (ibid., pp. 139-46). Immediately following is a paper by R. T. Samuel, manager of sales in IBM's transportation department, entitled "Centralized management of decentralized stock" (pp. 153-56). Samuel's paper concerned the capabilities of the IBM 702, IBM's first electronic digital computer for business applications. This was followed by a paper by J. E. Sheehan, a special representative with IBM, containing more information on the 702 system (pp. 157-77). At this time IBM could not deliver any 702's, since the system had only been announced in September 1953. "Selected references and information on electronic computers," by H. S. Levin (pp. 179-82) cited the relatively small amount of available literature on electronic digital computers. At the November 1954 meeting there was a panel on "Processed information via communications and electronic computers." Here R. M. Kalb, of Electronic Research Associates division of Remington Rand, made a presentation describing the special-purpose flight plan computer for CAA installed at Indianapolis, Indiana, the only commercial system then installed that allowed communicating with a central computer "via wired information" (pp. 151-61). He was followed by Herbert F. Mitchell, Jr., director of sales, engineering, and applications research at Remington Rand's electronic computer department (pp. 161-66), and by C. R. De Carlo, assistant director of the applied science department at IBM. The systems discussed were extremely complex, designed to control between ten thousand and one hundred thousand railroad cars. At the spring 1955 meeting Joe Crabtree, director of production application at Remington Rand, presented a detailed illustrated presentation on "The UNIVAC File-computer," (pp. 81-93); and J. W. Williams, senior sales representative at IBM, made a presentation on "IBM's 705 applied to inventory control" (pp. 133-37). At the spring 1956 meeting C. M. Davison, Jr., comptroller of Southern Railway, and R. B. Curry, assistant comptroller, made a presentation entitled "Computer applications: Preparation for a large computer on the Southern," (pp. 51-68). This summarized their preparations for the arrival of an IBM 705 system, which was expected to be delivered in October 1956. The installed system was expected to occupy betw. Seller Inventory # 39339

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