KDF9 card - 1965 7 of 33
The KDF9 was made by English Electric at Kidsgrove. English Electric were eventually bought up to become part of ICL. The KDF9 was their last 48-bit word machine, they chose to move to produce a range of 32-bit IBM compatibles called "System 4". This card is from a machine delivered to Nottingham University in 1965 with 16k 48-bit words of memory, paper tape input and output, and 4 magnetic tape decks. This was Nottingham's first machine, we joined other universities (Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Oxford) with KDF9s. In 1967 the Nottingham computer (along with the other universities' KDF9s) was upgraded to a 32k word memory, a monstrous 4 megabyte multi-platter multi-head disc and a DEC PDP-8 computer to control the Egdon (teletype) multi-terminal system.
The original English Electric software provided the first ever Algol load-and-go compiler/interpreter "W-Algol" (ideal for use in teaching) written in their factory just south of Leicester at Whetstone, and a slower-to-compile Kidsgrove version "K-Algol" producing more efficient programs for research users. The new Algol compiler provided in 1967 to go with the Egdon upgrade cost 40000 to each of the participating universities. The Egdon Algol compiler arrived on a Friday with no input/output (we had forgotten to include it in the contract, so ICL declined to provide it), so Eric Foxley and Ted Fish spent the weekend writing a comprehensive i/o system, still one of the best, able to read from the data not just numeric values and text, but also arithmetic expressions and identifiers of program variables! The Nottingham i/o scheme was running by the Monday morning.
1965-KDF9-1160.JPG
Email Eric Foxley with comments.