Exhibits At the Museum

This Day in History

Today: April 23, 2014
SWAC at UCLA ca. 1950

August 17, 1950

NBS dedicates SWAC machine

The National Bureau of Standards dedicates its Standards Western Automatic Computer (SWAC) at the Institute for Numerical Analysis in Los Angeles. Rather than testing components like its companion, the SEAC, the SWAC had an objective of computing using relatively off-the-shelf technology. It used a Williams Tube -- a modified CRT capable of modest (256 word) electrostatic bit storage -- and a magnetic drum (4,096 words) for storage. The word length was 37-bits and it could add two operands in 64uS

The SWAC performed much useful work, including searching for Mersenne prime numbers, X-ray crystallography, linear and differential equation solving and operated until December 1967

Parts of SWAC are on display at The Computer Museum History Center.