11 Facts About Atlas Computer


Atlas Computer was one of the world's first supercomputers, in use from 1962 to 1972.

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Atlas Computer was created in a joint development effort among the University of Manchester, Ferranti International plc and the Plessey Co.

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Two further Atlas Computer 2s were delivered: one to the CAD Centre in Cambridge, and the other to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, Aldermaston.

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Parts of the Chilton Atlas Computer are preserved by National Museums Scotland in Edinburgh; the main console itself was rediscovered in July 2014 and is at Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Chilton, near Oxford.

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Atlas Computer had been designed as a response to the US LARC and STRETCH programs.

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Atlas Computer was much faster than LARC, about four times, and ran slightly slower than STRETCH - Atlas Computer added two floating-point numbers in about 1.

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Atlas Computer was multiprogrammed with a well defined interface between the user and operating system, had a very large address space, and introduced the notion of extra codes to extend the functionality of its instruction set.

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Atlas Computer did not use a synchronous clocking mechanism — it was an asynchronous processor — so performance measurements were not easy, but as an example:.

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One feature of the Atlas Computer was "Extracode", a technique that allowed complex instructions to be implemented in software.

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Atlas Computer pioneered many software concepts still in common use today, including the Atlas Computer Supervisor, "considered by many to be the first recognisable modern operating system".

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The Atlas Computer did however support Algol 60, as well as Fortran and COBOL, and ABL .

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