This Day in History: February 27

      February 2017
Today: September 23, 2017
National Security Agency's Harvest Computer Retires
IBM's Steve "Red" Dunwell (left, foreground) and Erich Bloch to his right, in front of IBM Stretch system.

February 27, 1976

National Security Agency's Harvest Computer Retires

The IBM 7950, a supercomputer also known as the Harvest System, ceased operating after 14 years serving the National Security Agency. The Harvest was a one-of-a-kind adjunct to the Stretch computer and was delivered in 1962. It was designed for cryptanalysis by James H. Pomerene. Its electronics, built from the same kind of discrete transistors used for Stretch, were about twice as big (physically) as the Stretch. Harvest added a small number of instructions to the Stretch, was attached to it, and could not operate independently.