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IBM 7950 Harvest (wikipedia.org)
81 points by privong 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments



I found it interesting that the 7030 "Stretch" that was the base platform for this system was initially considered a failure. It didn't come close to achieving its design performance, forcing IBM to slash the price to contracted customers and pull the product off the market. But many elements of its architecture were later used successfully in the IBM 360 and other models.


Some of the concepts they pioneered are still used today. Fascinating story.


The last sentence seemed odd and would be nice for clarification. Not many government contractors say no from my experience.

"IBM declined to re-implement the architecture in a more modern technology."

They must have had something else they were trying to sell them.


there are lots of factors. the government is a very needy customer.

in the secure world, a further compounding problem is that the government demands exclusive access to many of the technologies you develop - making it difficult or impossible to leverage the work in the market. since that line isn't well defined, and the risks are so high, both you and the government err on the side of caution.

there is a constant struggle to keep your best engineers from being locked in a scif for the rest of their lives.

many people on the government side see themselves as the overall architects of the system with absolute fiat authority. this can lead to huge uncosted scope changes, difficult or impossible deliverables, the whole project lurching into the swamp because of some tertiary issues, etc.

despite the high price tag and hefty support contract, a lot of these deals are strategically poor and don't end up making you alot of money. in the limit your entire company functionally gets absorbed into the government.


That reads like an early version of BULLRUN.





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