Atlas (computer)

AtlasAtlas ComputerFerranti AtlasAtlas Computer (Manchester)Atlas 1Atlas 2Atlas 1 computerAtlas projectManchester/Ferranti Atlas
The Atlas Computer was one of the world's first supercomputers, in use from 1962 until 1971.wikipedia
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Paging

swap spaceswap fileswap
It is notable for being the first machine with virtual memory (at that time referred to as 'one-level store') using paging techniques; this approach quickly spread, and is now ubiquitous.
Ferranti introduced paging on the Atlas, but the first mass market memory pages were concepts in computer architecture, regardless of whether a page moved between RAM and disk.

Supercomputer

high-performance computinghigh performance computingsupercomputing
The Atlas Computer was one of the world's first supercomputers, in use from 1962 until 1971.
The third pioneering supercomputer project in the early 1960s was the Atlas at the University of Manchester, built by a team led by Tom Kilburn.

Virtual memory

virtual storagememoryswap
It is notable for being the first machine with virtual memory (at that time referred to as 'one-level store') using paging techniques; this approach quickly spread, and is now ubiquitous.
Paging was first implemented at the University of Manchester as a way to extend the Atlas Computer's working memory by combining its 16,384 words of primary core memory with an additional 98,304 words of secondary drum memory.

Atlas Computer Laboratory

Atlas
Two other Atlas machines were built: one for British Petroleum and the University of London, and one for the Atlas Computer Laboratory at Chilton near Oxford.
From 1964 to 1971, the laboratory housed the largest of the three examples of the Ferranti Atlas 1 computer that was purchased for £2.5 million, and after which the laboratory was named.

Tom Kilburn

Thomas KilburnKilburn buildingTom Kilburn, Ph.D., CBE, FRS
At the end of 1958 Ferranti agreed to collaborate with Manchester University on the project, and the computer was shortly afterwards renamed Atlas, with the joint venture under the control of Tom Kilburn.
He led the development of a succession of innovative Manchester computers that incorporated a host of ground-breaking innovations and developments, including the Ferranti Mark 1, the world's first commercial computer, and the Atlas, one of the first time-sharing multiprocessing computers that incorporated job scheduling, spooling, interrupts, pipelining and paging.

Ferranti

Ferranti Defence SystemsFerranti International plcFerranti Ltd
Atlas was created in a joint development effort among the University of Manchester, Ferranti International plc and the Plessey Co., plc.
Work on a completely new design, the Atlas, started soon after the delivery of the Mercury, aiming to dramatically improve performance.

IBM 7030 Stretch

IBM 7030STRETCHIBM Stretch
The first Atlas was officially commissioned on 7 December 1962, and was considered at that time to be equivalent to four IBM 7094s and nearly as fast as the IBM 7030 Stretch, then the world's fastest supercomputer.
The Stretch at the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston, England was heavily used by researchers there and at AERE Harwell, but only after the development of the S2 Fortran Compiler which was the first to add dynamic arrays, and which was later ported to the Ferranti Atlas of Atlas Computer Laboratory at Chilton.

Plessey

Plessey RadarPlessey CompanyPlessey Semiconductors Ltd
Atlas was created in a joint development effort among the University of Manchester, Ferranti International plc and the Plessey Co., plc.
Plessey were partners in the development of the Atlas Computer in 1962 and in the development of digital telephone systems, including System X, from the late 1970s.

History of computing hardware

History of computer hardwarehistory of computerscomputer history
Atlas was a second-generation computer, using discrete germanium transistors in place of vacuum tubes, which were used in earlier computers.
The Atlas was a joint development between the University of Manchester, Ferranti, and Plessey, and was first installed at Manchester University and officially commissioned in 1962 as one of the world's first supercomputers – considered to be the most powerful computer in the world at that time.

Time-sharing

timesharingtime sharingtime-sharing system
Called the Titan, or Atlas 2, it had a different memory organisation and ran a time-sharing operating system developed by Cambridge University Computer Laboratory.

Titan (1963 computer)

TitanTitan computerAtlas 2
Called the Titan, or Atlas 2, it had a different memory organisation and ran a time-sharing operating system developed by Cambridge University Computer Laboratory.
Titan differed from the original Manchester Atlas by having a real, but cached, main memory, rather than the paged (or virtual) memory used in the Manchester machine.

48-bit

Computers with 48-bit words include the AN/FSQ-32, CDC 1604/upper-3000 series, BESM-6, Ferranti Atlas, and Burroughs large systems.

Ferranti Orion

Orion
Other UK machines of the era, such as the Ferranti Orion, had similar mechanisms for calling on the services of their operating systems.
Ferranti positioned Orion to be their primary offering during the early 1960s, complementing their high-end Atlas and smaller systems like the Sirius and Argus.

Operating system

operating systemsOScomputer operating system
But about half of the codes were designated as Supervisor functions, which invoked operating system procedures.
An improvement was the Atlas Supervisor introduced with the Manchester Atlas commissioned in 1962, "considered by many to be the first recognisable modern operating system".

Atlas Autocode

One of the first high-level languages available on Atlas was named Atlas Autocode, which was contemporary to Algol60 and created specifically to address what Tony Brooker perceived to be some defects in Algol60.
A variant of the ALGOL programming language, it was developed by Tony Brooker and Derrick Morris for the Atlas Computer.

Atlas Supervisor

Atlas pioneered many software concepts still in common use today, including the Atlas Supervisor, "considered by many to be the first recognisable modern operating system".
The Atlas Supervisor was the program which managed the allocation of processing resources of Manchester University's Atlas Computer so that the machine was able to act on many tasks and user programs concurrently.

Manchester computers

Transistor ComputerMU5operational by 1953
*Manchester computers

Electronic component

electronic componentscomponentscomponent
Atlas was a second-generation computer, using discrete germanium transistors in place of vacuum tubes, which were used in earlier computers.

Bipolar junction transistor

bipolar transistorbipolarBJT
Atlas was a second-generation computer, using discrete germanium transistors in place of vacuum tubes, which were used in earlier computers.

Transistor

transistorstransistorizedsilicon transistor
Atlas was a second-generation computer, using discrete germanium transistors in place of vacuum tubes, which were used in earlier computers.

Vacuum tube

vacuum tubestubethermionic valve
Atlas was a second-generation computer, using discrete germanium transistors in place of vacuum tubes, which were used in earlier computers.

Victoria University of Manchester

University of ManchesterOwens CollegeManchester University
Atlas was created in a joint development effort among the University of Manchester, Ferranti International plc and the Plessey Co., plc.

BP

British PetroleumBP plcBritish Petroleum Company
Two other Atlas machines were built: one for British Petroleum and the University of London, and one for the Atlas Computer Laboratory at Chilton near Oxford.

University of London

London UniversityLondonThe University of London
Two other Atlas machines were built: one for British Petroleum and the University of London, and one for the Atlas Computer Laboratory at Chilton near Oxford.

Oxford

Oxford, EnglandCity of OxfordOxford, UK
Two other Atlas machines were built: one for British Petroleum and the University of London, and one for the Atlas Computer Laboratory at Chilton near Oxford.