Introduction to Elliott 903

In 1965 the Elliott 903 was released. It was smaller and more efficient than the earlier 803. It was much easier to move from one location to another, almost portable. Input and output was again through paper tape and Teletype keyboard. The 903 would have been used in the same way as the 803 for business and scientific applications.

  • Introduction

    Running time: 00:44

Input

Programmers used a Teletype to punch holes in a paper tape to prepare programs off line. The Teletype punched the tape and at the same time printed on paper what was being typed on the keyboard. The tape is loaded into a reader and the computer is instructed to read the input from the tape. The information from the tape is transferred to the computer's memory and exists as electrical digital signals rather than holes in paper.

  • Input

    Running time: 01:48

Output

Elliott 903

Storage

The paper tape is removed from the reader and wound up in case the program is needed again in the future.

  • Storage

    Running time: 00:20

Memory

'BASIC' is a simple computer language that was widely used by amateurs as well as professionals For the computer to understand a program written in BASIC it needs to translate the instructions on the paper tape into a form that the computer can work with. So before the BASIC program is input, another program is input first that tells the computer how to interpret the BASIC instructions. Similarly, for the computer to understand a program written in FORTRAN, an older language used for mathematical calculation, we would need a program loaded in first that tells the computer how to understand FORTRAN instructions read from the tape. The use of a program acting as an intermediary between the user and the computer was the start of what are called Operating Systems which act as an interface between human userss and the computing machine. Operating Sytems are one kind of program that acts as an interface that allows the user to manage the tasks the computer is to perform. There are other kinds of programs that help to do this.

  • Operating system Pt 1

    Running time: 00:53

Processing

Earlier computers in the1950s, like WITCH, could only understand instructions given to it in the form of numbers. Writing programs using numbers is not that convenient for human users. So another program (the compiler or interpreter) was first read into the computer and that allows the user to enter programs using instructions closer to English – a computer 'language'. The operating system, compilers and interpreters were additional software layers. In the late 1960s using multiple layers of programs made communicating with the computer easier.

  • Operating system Pt 2

    Running time: 00:55

User Interface

Once the program is read into the computer's memory the user communicates with the machine using a keyboard and a terminal. The user can give the computer instructions through the keyboard. For example by typing LIST the user can ask the computer to list the program it has read so the user can check it. The information is displayed on the screen of the terminal. The user can then type RUN for the computer to execute the instructions and run the program.

'BASIC' is a simple computer language that was widely used by amateurs as well as professionals For the computer to understand a program written in BASIC it needs to translate the instructions on the paper tape into a form that the computer can work with. So before the BASIC program is input, another program is input first that tells the computer how to interpret the BASIC instructions. Similarly, for the computer to understand a program written in FORTRAN, an older language used for mathematical calculation, we would need a program loaded in first that tells the computer how to understand FORTRAN instructions read from the tape. The use of a program acting as an intermediary between the user and the computer was the start of what are called Operating Systems which act as an interface between human users and the computing machine. Operating Systems are one kind of program that acts as an interface that allows the user to manage the tasks the computer is to perform. There are other kinds of programs that help to do this.

  • Programming

    Running time: 01:56

  • Operating system Pt 1

    Running time: 00:53

Impact on Society

Elliott 903

Images of the Elliott 903

  • Elliott 903 data input by QWERTY keyboard or data tape

  • Elliot 903 input tape reader

  • Elliott 903 paper tape reader

  • The Elliot 903 featured smaller transistors - reducing the system size further