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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 8

I Part 1: Communications

II Epilogue

III Part 2: Early Australian Computers And Computing
i Instruments and calculators
ii The transition to the computer, 1945 to 1951
iii The first computers, 1951 to 1956
iv Concentration on large-scale systems, 1958 to 1963
v Software and microelectronics, after 1965
vi Industry, education and the computing fraternity

IV Acknowledgements



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Concentration on large-scale systems, 1958 to 1963 (continued)

Another major project mentioned earlier was the development by Ovenstone of a computer based administrative data handling system for the Department of Defence and the armed services. After a major feasibility and design study by a team of about a dozen people lasting almost two years, the proposed design, which depended upon the availabilty of an English language based programming system, was implemented beginning in 1962, using Honeywell H800 systems. Ovenstone's concept also involved use of the Defence Telex type network, which could feed data on paper tape to and from the centre at Canberra. (Whereas this network was based upon a single central processor, the CSIRO network was decentralised and depended upon compatibility of language and hardware functions.) The Department of Defence project took some years to complete but was successful. It was the first really large scale use of computer systems for administrative purposes in Australia. The success of the three different systems encouraged other Commonwealth Departments to act similarly.

At WRE, a special machine to predict impact positions of missiles while in flight was designed, constructed and placed in service at Woomera. The design of this machine, the ATROPOS (or DIP), was a transistorised version of the TREAC, provided with a special built-in square root operation which was needed to achieve the very high execution speed to predict at a rate of 5 times per second (Hinkfuss, I. C., Keith, F. J. and Macaulay, I. J., 1960).

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australia. Department of Defence; CSIRO; Weapons Research Establishment (W.R.E.)

People in Bright Sparcs - Hinkfuss, I. C.; Keith, F. J.; Macaulay, I. J.; Ovenstone, John Allen

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© 1988 Print Edition pages 623 - 624, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher