Computer History – CDC 6500

I came across this video this morning. I thought that it gives an interesting look back at what computing was like when I started in the field. The CDC 6500 was in production from 1967 and was considered to be part of the first generation of ‘supercomputers’. This was an outstanding machine for its day.

These machines were mostly hand built with discrete components (transistors, resistors, capacitors, etc.) including around 250,000 transistors. Computationally speaking, this is insignificant by today’s standards. The A8 System on a Chip (SoC) used in Apple’s iPhone 6, by contrast, contains over 2 Billion transistors.

This CDC 6500 can be seen at the Living Computer Museum in Seattle. It will certainly be on my list of places to visit the next time I am in Seattle.



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