IBM System/360 Processor Card
About this Artwork:
The image in this artwork is of an IBM System/360 mainframe computer control panel. This panel had lots of round lights that indicated what was happening in the computer. The lights went on and off as programs ran and the binary ones and zeros kept changing. Because these computers could only do thousands of instructions per second (KIPS), it was possible to determine the "health" of the computer by watching the pulsing lights. The circuit board in the center of the picture is part of an actual System/360 processor. It is over fifty years old. Each of the metal squares was a Solid Logic Technology circuit, which together provided the control, arithmetic, and logic functions of the computer. The picture to the right shows what the SLT circuit looks like if you remove the square metal can.
In 1961, IBM had about 65% of the market for computers. However, IBM’s existing computers were all incompatible. IBM needed a new approach to computing if it was going to gain, or at least hold its market share. IBM needed to step up its game. CEO, Thomas Watson Jr., bet $5 billion when IBM was only making $2.5 billion a year, that the IBM System/360 was the answer.
The introduction of the System/360 in 1964 was a major milestone in computer history. IBM made the commitment to its customers that if they rewrote their programs one more time, for the System/360, they would never have to do it again. To make this happen the System/360 architecture had to be fundamentally different from any computer that preceded it. The System/360 had an incredible number of firsts!
- First commercially available computer whose design is based on computer chips
- First family of compatible computers
- First to use micro-coding of the instruction set with emulation of a previous generation of computer
- First to guarantee compatibility with future generations (360 code will still run on today’s IBM computers)
- First to use 32-bit words
- First to use the 8-bit byte
- First to use byte-addressable memory (as opposed to bit-addressable or word-addressable memory)
- First to use key-controlled memory protection
- First to have a standardized I/O channel architecture (FIPS-60.31) which allowed interchangeable I/O devices
- First to use the IBM Floating Point Architecture (today’s standard)
- First to use nine-track magnetic tape
- and more…
The artwork is framed in an 8"x10" black shadow box frame, with glass. All framing materials are acid-free. A narrative about the artwork that includes the artist’s signature is placed on the back of the artwork.
Please note: The look of the artifacts in the artworks may vary, each piece is unique.