Arthur Beard founded Formation in 1970 with three other engineers from RCA. Prior to the company’s founding, from 1962-70, Beard was Chief Engineer at RCA’s Computer Systems Division. Formation started as a consulting company, advising large clients on data processing topics and systems. As the company grew, it began to develop its own products, culminating in the 9903 CPU, which was reportedly three times faster than RCA’s competing 3301 mainframe system. It also developed the F-4000 minicomputer that was IBM System/370 code-compatible. In this interview, Beard summarizes his careers at RCA and Formation, including revealing interesting details about the growth and development of the computer industry at large.
Beard, Arthur; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI); Radio Corporation of America (RCA); Bell Laboratories; Rajchman, Jan; Selectron; Army Tank and Automotive Center; BIZMAC (Computer); SAGE (Air defense system); Ballistic Missile Early Warning System (BMEWS); North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD); Camden, New Jersey; Van Nuys, California; RCA 301 (Computer); RCA 501 (Computer); International Business Machines Corporation (IBM); RCA 3301 (Computer); RCA Spectra series (Computer); RCA Spectra 35 (Computer); RCA Spectra 45 (Computer); RCA Spectra 55 (Computer); IBM System/360 (Computer); IBM System/370 (Computer); Telex; ISS; UNISYS Corporation; Formation 9903 (Computer); Southern Bell; Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)