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General Automation

GA 18/30

This computer could run the same software as IBM’s 1800 process control computer or 1130 scientific computer, but was less expensive. Industrial uses included steel mills, railroads, power plants and oil refineries.

General Automation

Not every minicomputer company was created by engineers jumping ship. A marketing executive and a salesman from Honeywell founded General Automation.

GA’s first machine, the 8-bit SPC-12 “Automation Computer,” debuted in 1968 for real-time data collection and control. Like other minicomputer manufacturers, GA soon moved to more powerful 16-bit designs.

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GA industrial applications brochure

The GA 18/30 could handle analog and digital inputs and outputs, control relays, read temperature sensors, etc.

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Handling Physics Data

Data from high energy physics experiments can come from many places at once. The Central Bureau for Nuclear Measurements in Belgium used not one but four General Automation 18/30 minicomputers to capture information from sensors, and a fifth to send it all to an IBM mainframe for processing.

Central Bureau for Nuclear Measurements (CBNM) Nuclear Radiation Lab, Belgium

This physics lab used minicomputers to measure neutrons emitted from a target bombarded by high energy particles.

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