"Soon after I started at Philco a threesome from Bell Laboratories, William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Braittan gave a talk at the Engineers Club in Philadelphia describing their development of the transistor. I was greatly impressed with the possibilities. So was Bob Noyce of the Lansdale Division of Philco who started a program to start producing some. My officemate Ralph Brown began experimenting with them and invented the Direct Coupled circuit which was ideal for implementing logic circuits. To complete the design of the Norden system, I decided on a parallel and asynchronous structure based on the Institute for Advanced Study design. The project went ahead with the proper interface with the airplane and a small magnetic disk to store programming and temporary results. The equipment was stored in a metal container that was the same size

as the mechanical model we had received. The system was delivered to the Navy, installed and flight tested.“


Note: Robert Noyce,  was a renowned Silicon Valley innovating pioneer. He first headed up Philco’s transistor development effort, left to join Fairchild Semiconductor in California. Later, he founded the Intel Corporation along with Gordon Moore and Andy Grove.


“Representatives from the National Security Agency visited us and expressed interest in our transistor computer, and provided a specification of each of the functions they required. I studied their specifications and met with them to review precisely each of the functions required, some of which were unique to NSA’s needs. They invited me to their facility to meet John Eakus who asked me to program a number of examples on their current computer to further


test my understanding. I made a perfect score and they were ready to go ahead with the project. We named it the Transac S-1000 (SOLO), and delivered it along with a Programmer’s manual in November of 1957.".


Note: The NSA/SOLO computer was acknowledged to be the “first general-purpose transistorized computer to operate in the United States.” A History of Modern Computing, by Paul E. Ceruzzi, The MIT Press 1998, p. 65. A Brief History of Cryptography, by J. V. Boone, Naval Institute Press, 2005, p. 80.


Jim Maddox graduated from Auburn University with a BEE (Electronics) and an MS in Mathematics. He is a Senior Member of the IEEE. While at college, he enlisted in the US Navy V5 Program and was trained as a Navy pilot before being discharged at the end of World War II.

 

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