Titan (1963 computer)

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Not to be confused with Titan (supercomputer). Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_0

Titan was the prototype of the Atlas 2 computer developed by Ferranti and the University of Cambridge Mathematical Laboratory in Cambridge, England. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_1

It was designed starting in 1963, and in operation from 1964 to 1973. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_2

History Titan (1963 computer)_section_0

In 1961, the University of Cambridge found itself unable to fund a suitably powerful computer for its needs at the time, so the University purchased from Ferranti the main Atlas processing units and then jointly designed the memory and peripheral equipment. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_3

The joint effort led to a cheaper and simpler version of the Atlas that Ferranti could market, leaving Cambridge with the prototype version, named Titan. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_4

The Atlas hardware arrived in Cambridge in 1963, although software design was already underway. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_5

David Wheeler was in charge of the joint effort between the University and Ferranti. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_6

In 1965 the Cambridge side of the team decided to add a time-sharing facility for Titan, necessitating the acquisition of additional hardware. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_7

When Titan came into full service in 1966, time sharing was available for all staff. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_8

Titan was finally switched off in October 1973. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_9

Ferranti, by then a division of International Computers and Tabulators (ICT), marketed the Titan as the Atlas 2. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_10

Although intended to be more affordable than the Atlas, its price was still over £1 million. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_11

A second Atlas 2 was built in Manchester, and was installed at the Computer-Aided Design Centre (CADCentre) on Madingley Road together with the Cambridge Titan supervisor. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_12

This machine, the last Atlas, was finally switched off on 21 December 1976. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_13

A third Atlas 2 was ordered by the UK's Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) at Aldermaston. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_14

It replaced the faster and much more expensive IBM 7030 Stretch which had been leased from IBM. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_15

Hardware Titan (1963 computer)_section_1

Titan differed from the original Manchester Atlas by having a real, but cached, main memory, rather than the paged (or virtual) memory used in the Manchester machine. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_16

It initially had 28K of memory, but this was expanded first to 64K and later to 128K. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_17

The Titan's main memory had 128K of 48-bit words and was implemented using ferrite core store rather than the part core, part rotating drum-store used on the Manchester Atlas. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_18

Titan also had two large hard-disk drives and several magnetic tape decks. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_19

As with the Manchester Atlas, it used discrete components, in particular germanium transistors. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_20

Some of these components can be seen in the online relics collection of the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_21

Uses Titan (1963 computer)_section_2

Titan was the computer on which a team from Ferranti based in Bracknell working with David Barron, David Hartley, Roger Needham and Barry Landy of Cambridge University Maths Lab developed the early multi-user time-sharing operating system called Titan Supervisor. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_22

This was arguably the world's first commercially sold time-sharing operating system. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_23

Other experiments in time-sharing, such as CTSS and PLATO in the US, were one-of-a-kind research projects. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_24

One of Titan's most intensive uses was to compute the inverse Fourier Transforms of data from the One-Mile Radio Telescope. Titan (1963 computer)_sentence_25


Credits to the contents of this page go to the authors of the corresponding Wikipedia page: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titan (1963 computer).