So, 53 years ago, opens a story in Electronics Weekly’s edition of April 12th 1961.
The story continues:
The experimental memory is said to be a significant advance in an approach to a relatively new concept called ‘associative memory’.
The prototype unit was constructed with existing components to demonstrate that a ferrite core associative memory can be made to operate at high speeds.
‘Short cuts’ provided in such a memory may speed up access to stored information by reducing programming in certain kinds of processing.
Although the prototype has a capacity of only four information ‘bits’, extensive studies indicate thata large-scale associative memory is technically practical.
In a conventional memory, data is stored in ‘registers’ at specific ‘addresses’. To retrieve a word from the memory, the computer must spec9ify the correct address.
In the new unit a word can be stored in any register and no address need be given to locate it.
Furthermore, any fragment of a stored word may be used to interrogate all the memory registers simultaneously. The experimental unit uses special cards – ‘sandwiches’ of paper around a layer of aluminium foil. These are inserted between pairs of electronic printed-circuit boards which convert the data into signals for the computer.