Ruminations on the electronics industry from David Manners, Senior Components Editor on Electronics Weekly.

Two New Techniques For Storing Digital Information From IBM.

Two new techniques for storing digital information have been announced by IBM.  One is a magnetic core memory for computers which contains built-in ‘short-cuts’ to stored data, and the other is an experimental punched card memory unit which electronically reads out punched data at high speed from special IBM cards.

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.

Tags: associative memory, conventional memory, digital information, experimental punched card memory unit, magnetic core memory

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