when core memory was king

IBM Core Memory = George Dunbar

Toronto. When I first joined the Business Information Systems (BIS) section of Bell in 1966, 64,000 bytes of memory was huge. Today, of course that amount is so tiny you could not begin to load a modern day operating system plus a single file in memory, let alone an application to display/modify the file. Memory in those days was called core for a reason. Each bit of data in memory depended on the hysteresis effect of tiny rings of ferrite material. The hysteresis switched direction to register a ‘1’ or a ‘0’ in binary. American computer companies were known collectively as ‘Snow White and the seven dwarfs’ reflecting the relative size of the eight companies with IBM (Snow White) the largest.

Today, York University  archives has benefitted from IBM Canada’s collection of photographs, largely taken by our own George Dunbar during his tenure as a part of the IBM Canada team. The wonderful collection “Portraits of Digital Canada” was hosted on April 24th at the Scott Library. The occasion was celebrated by the attendance of George Dunbar and Bob Lansdale, our journal editor. Bob recorded the event with this shot of George.

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