Berkeley CSUA MOTD:Entry 34391
Berkeley CSUA MOTD
2019/04/22 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

2004/10/27-28 [Politics/Domestic/President/Bush, Politics/Domestic/California] UID:34391 Activity:moderate
10/27   "There was another election season, back in 1952, when a presidential
        contest seemed too close to call, America worried it was vulnerable to
        attack, and a single company dominated computing."
        \_ Univac predicts landslide victory for Bush in CA!!11!1!!
           \_ Univac's polling completely ignores circuits which use
              transistors and no longer have a conventional vacuum tube.
              \_ Thanks Captain Obvious.  And your point?
                 \_ It's a joke on people criticizing the Gallup poll
        \_ The Univac I used mercury delay line memory.  Very cool technology.
           \_ Looks like a jet engine.
           It appears that the delay line was only used as a stack.  Had they
           implemented a time-slot-based memory system, they could have used
           the delay line for random access, and this would have presaged the
           later Rambus architecture.  Of course, a time-slot based system
           would have been too complicated to implement given 1950 technology.
        \_ The Univac I use cleans my carpet well.  I'm waiting to upgrade to
           Multivac which can clean two rooms in parallel.
        \_ Which single company dominates computing today?  Microsoft?  Intel?
           \_ Actually, it's Apple
           \_ Microsoft is only small stuff.  Intel is small and mid-sized.
              IBM has their finger in everything.  But I don't think there is
              one single company that owns computing in that sense anymore.
              \_ Uhhh...  Yeah, sure.  Whatever.
2019/04/22 [General] UID:1000 Activity:popular

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USA TODAY In '52, huge computer called Univac changed election night Wed Oct 27, 7:11 AM ET There was another election season, back in 1952, when a presidential cont est seemed too close to call, America worried it was vulnerable to attac k, and a single company dominated computing. More USA TODAY Snapshots Those circumstances set the stage for the election night dramatics of the Univac - perhaps the most significant live TV performance ever by a com puter. It might just be technology's equivalent of the first Elvis appea rance on The Ed Sullivan Show. Except parents didn't worry that computer s were going to destroy the moral fiber of the nation's youth, which sho ws you how much parents know. Along the way, it embarrassed CBS long before Dan Rather could do that a ll by himself. Their most pressing issue: an epic global struggle between democracy and communism. Joseph McCarthy's Red Scare was in full swing, aimed at alleged communists. In Denmark, George "Christine" Jorgensen h ad the first sex-change operation. Computers were the stuff of science fiction and wide-eyed articles about "electric brains." Only a handful had been built, among them the first computer, Eniac, created by J Presper Eckert and John Mauchly at the University of Pennsylvania in the 1940s. By 1952, Eckert and Mauchly had joined Remington Rand and finished anothe r computer, which they called Univac. IBM was racing to build its Univac-beater, dubbed the 701. For 30 years, going back to mechanical punch-card machines, IBM had lorded over comput ing to a degree Microsoft can only dream about. IBM CEO Thomas Watson planned a public relations bacchanal. In summer 1952, a Remington Rand executive approached CBS News chief Sig Mickelson and said the Univac might be able to plot early election-night returns against past voting patterns and spit out a predicted winner. M ickelson and anchor Walter Cronkite thought the claim was a load of balo ney but figured it would at least be entertaining to try it on the air. Eckert and Mauchly sought help from a University of Pennsylvania statisti cian, Max Woodbury. He and Mauchly wrote one of the first algorithms for computing, working at Mauchly's house because Mauchly had been blacklis ted as pro-communist. "John wasn't allowed into the company anymore," sa ys Mauchly's widow, Kay Mauchly Antonelli. On election night, the 16,000-pound Univac remained at its home in Philad elphia. In the TV studio, CBS set up a fake computer - a panel embedded with blinking Christmas lights and a teletype machine. Correspondent Charles Collingwood and a camera crew set up in fr ont of the real Univac. As polls began to close, clerks typed the data into the Univac using thre e Unityper machines, which punched holes in a paper tape that would be f ed into the computer. By 8:30 pm ET - long before news organizations of the era knew national election outcomes - Univac spit out a startling prediction. It said Eis enhower would get 438 electoral votes to Stevenson's 93 - a landslide vi ctory. Because every poll had said the race would be tight, CBS didn't b elieve the computer and refused to air the prediction. "Mauchly was at home getting telephone calls all the time about what was happening," Antonelli says. "It was essentially a live demo, on national TV," says Jim Senior, histor ian at Unisys, the computer giant that traces its roots to Remington Ran d and Univac. Univac then gave Eise nhower 8-to-7 odds over Stevenson. But Woodbury kept working and found he'd made a mistake. He ran the numbers again and got the original results - an Eisenhower lands lide. Late that night, as actual results came in, CBS realized Univac had been right. Embarrassed, Collingwood came back on the air and confessed to mi llions of viewers that Univac had predicted the results hours earlier. In fact, the official count ended up being 442 electoral votes for Eisenh ower and 89 for Stevenson. Considering that the Univac h ad 5,000 vacuum tubes that did 1,000 calculations per second, that's pre tty impressive. In 1952, people were as intrigued by computers as we are by SpaceShipOne. "Univac" suddenly became a generic term for those blink ing electric brains. Much to IBM's disgust, when IBM introduced the 701 a few months later, people referred to it as "IBM's Univac." In the public's mind, the Univac was the new leader in computing. And by 1956, the TV networks all used computers and predicted results early, ch anging the dynamics of Election Day. Back to a presidential contest too close to call, a nation worried it is vulnerable to attack, and a single company dominating computing. Kevin Maney has covered technology for USA TODAY since 1985. All Night Long on eBay Find All Night Long items at low prices. With over 5 million items for sale every day, you'll find all kinds of unique things on eBay - the World's Online Marketplace.