Artifact Details

Title

Trapnell, Fritz (Frederick) oral history

Catalog Number

102739930

Type

Text

Date

2014-05-27

Contributor

Dennis, Eric, Videographer
Strickland, Jim, Interviewer
Trapnell, Fritz, Interviewee

Publisher

Computer History Museum

Place of Publication

Mountain View, California

Extent

44 p.

Format

PDF

Copyright Holder

Computer History Museum

Description

Fredrick “Fritz” Trapnell is the man who delivered on the promises made by IBM when they announced System/360 and its revolutionary software. That announcement, on April 7, 1964, was not specific about software for the System/360 family, but it suggested that the operating system would encompass the entire range of computer hardware.

But in mid-1965, Dr. Fred Brooks—one of the chief architects of the System/360 and in charge of the huge, widely diversified software development project—was to leave IBM to fulfill his promise to start the computer science program at the University of North Carolina. Fritz Trapnell was brought back to the United States from IBM's laboratory in Hursley, United Kingdom, to take over.

On Trapnell’s watch, unmakeable products were redefined, unmakeable schedules were reset, products were delivered, and IBM was able to install all those System/360s that were so profitable for IBM and that remade the computer industry. Trapnell played a significant role in IBM's adoption of micro-code, which was the vehicle that enabled the many processors of the System/360 family to run the same instruction set.

Later in his career he was vice president of software for Amdahl, leading development of Amdahl's UTS. And still later, he managed software development projects for Tandem (which became part of Compaq and Hewlett-Packard.)

Category

Transcription

Subject

Software development; IBM System/360 (Computer); IBM 7750 Programmed Transmission Control; microcode; OS/360; Hursley, United Kingdom; Brooks, Frederick; International Business Machines Corporation (IBM); Amdahl Corporation; UTS (Mainframe UNIX)

Collection Title

Oral history collection

Credit

Computer History Museum

Lot Number

X7177.2014

Related Records

102739929 Trapnell, Fritz (Frederick) oral history