Quote Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

I know what you mean about computers with limited memory. My first computer I used was an IBM 1401 using the IBM 80 column punched card. We used FORTRAN IV and required at least 12000-character memory and four tape drives for spooling. We finally installed a CDC 6400 mainframe and programming was so much easier despite still having core memories. We replaced it with an IBM 370 and eventually upgraded the OS to virtual memory capability, then installing IBM 3033, IBM 3081, IBM 3090 with internal vector processors, and eventually Cray supercomputers (more like over-priced refrigeration units). All the computers used FORTRAN because all the equations involved matrices and complex numbers so we let the compiler keep track the imaginary number arithmetic. Now everything is massively parallel and virtually unlimited computer capacity. Along the way, I even built and 8-bit 8085 than ran a FORTRAN compiler and actually did real work.

Regards, Paul
Ah, yes, FORTRAN, I remember it well. Carrying boxes of cards over to the priests who protected the computer from us users. I still have textbooks with 80 column punch card bookmarks. I have fond memories of punching up those tabulator cards and trying to get them secured into those revolving cylinders that held them in the card punch machines. I remember thinking, "Someday this will all be done electronically."

FORTRAN was a great tool in my opinion but it had its limitations. I remember one wag telling me that his personal vision of hell was having to write a word processor in FORTRAN. ;-) Nevertheless, I used it to write a stack calculator that could do symbolic algebra manipulations. You filled stack elements with symbolic polynomials and then could use the calculator to symbolically add, subtract, multiply, divide, differentiate, integrate, etc.. When done, arithmetic values for the symbols could be entered and it would evaluate the result. But the defense industry has a way of squashing one's enthusiasm for a creative task. Soon after completing the calculator the project that required it was cancelled.