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Document Details


Title: Douglas T. Ross
Local code: OH 65
Document type: Oral history
Accessibility: Free Only
Repository: University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Charles Babbage Institute
Collection: Charles Babbage Institute Oral History Program
Series: Item 1 of Series Douglas T. Ross
Description: Ross, the founder of SofTech Corporation, recounts some of his early experiences working on MIT's Whirlwind computer in the 1950s. He explains how a summer job at MIT's Servomechanisms Laboratory operating a Marchant calculator led him to use the Whirlwind for greater computing power--and to seventeen years in the MIT computer labs. Ross reports on his first use of Whirlwind for airborne fire control problems. Soon after that the Whirlwind was used for the Cape Cod early warning system, a precursor to the SAGE Air Defense System. Ross describes improvements made to Whirlwind, including the introduction of the first light pen and the replacement of the paper tape reader with a photoelectric tape reader (PETR). Ross also discusses some of the programs he wrote or used on Whirlwind, such as the Initial Data Processing Program (IDPP), the Servo Lab Utility Program (SLURP), and the Mistake Diagnosis Routine (MDR). He describes the IDPP as particularly interesting, because it involved pattern recognition and was thus an early example of artificial intelligence research.
Extent: 55 pages
URL: http://www.cbi.umn.edu/oh/pdf.phtml?id=235
Original Language: English
Time span: Not indicated ... to 1984 (Year of interview)
Speaker: Ross, Douglas T.
Speaker gender: Male
Speaker occupation: Electrical engineer; Military personnel
Document location: Waltham, MA
Document date: 21-Feb-1984
Interviewer: Aspray, William
Locations discussed: North America; United States
Topics discussed - ASP terms: Computer software; Electric engineering; Engineering; Information technology; North America; Oral history; Software engineering; United States
Topics discussed - Other terms: Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
ASP release: 2005-06
Document code: OHI0024034-25581