My MEGATRONICS Consulting page.
My Consulting Business, set up in 1970, but operated mainly from 1988.
[Specialist Support of DEC [digital equipment corporation] PDP-11 Computer Systems]
First - some Personal History and Qualifications
1942 Born, at the (then) new King George V Hospital in Camperdown.
1955 - 1959, Secondary education at Homebush Boys (selective) High School,
member of school chess team.
1959, Leaving Certificate with a Commonwealth Scholarship to University of NSW.
As a teenager I had been given a book “The Boy Electrician” but it did not
mention computers. BUT, in 1958 and 1959, I had visited Sydney University on
OPEN DAYs and had been fascinated with the SILLIAC demonstrations, especially
1960 to 1971+ Tertiary education at University of NSW (Ultimo, Kensington and
Randwick campuses) and Sydney Technical College (Ultimo, St George and
North Sydney College campuses).
I don’t recall any formal mention of computers during the Electrical Engineering
course at UNSW. Very little mention of semi-conductors.
1963 to 1969 Laboratory Assistant, Institute of Highway and Traffic Research,
University of NSW.
In mid-1964, Stan Yan (Professional Officer in charge of the IBM-1620)
organised a week’s worth of Fortran Programming sessions from 8:30 to 9:30 am
for all those interested.
I soon realised/decided that the brainwork involved in computing was somewhat
more desirable than the heavy or physical work that was often associated with
I have since done too much work on ‘heavy’ hardware.
I was later assigned to work with Ron KEITH
in the Electronics Laboratory on the “Traffic Analyser” Project.
Ron Keith had worked on ‘ATROPOS’ at Woomera – a 5MHz parallel processor,
in the 1950s / early 1960s.
The Traffic Analyser was a dedicated Analogue to Digital computer system
that was able to input analogue recordings of traffic flows and produce
paper tapes that were input to the IBM-1620 for statistical analysis.
After Stan Yan resigned (about 1967) I was put in charge of the IBM 1620.
I was also responsible for some design changes for the Traffic Analyser.
1965-1969, Worked with IBM 1620 (installed 1963?) at Institute of Highway and
Traffic Research, University of NSW.
The 1620 normally ran FORTRAN-IID. [ie Intermediate/temporary
compilation files were stored on disk.]
Please see my list of various IBM manuals (coming soon).
1967 Technical Review of Pocket Calculators, Tharunka, University of NSW.
1968, Part-Time Demonstrator for School of Surveying, University of NSW.
[Computing strand based around IBM-1620.]
1969, Part-time Lecturer for School of Surveying, University of NSW.
1969, Completed - Certificate in Traffic Planning & Control, Graduate School of
Traffic Engineering, University of NSW.
1969 to 1977 Laboratory Technician, School of Civil Engineering, University of NSW.
1969 - 1974?, IBM 360/50H in Computing Centre, University of NSW.
1970, Qualified as a Full Member of the Australian Computer Society [recommended/nominated
by Prof Allen?].
1970+ Ongoing Professional Development through IREE and Australian Computer Society
and IT courses and conferences.
1971, I was invited to attend Computing Science Honours Lectures by Professor
Murray Allen at UNSW. [ No first degree yet ! ].
1971, WANG 720 model Programmable Calculator, School of Civil Engineering,
University of NSW. [A—Z keyboard].
I actually enrolled in the Computing Science subjects in 1970.
Mid-night to dawn (8am) shifts on the IBM-360/60 in Electrical Engineering
as Shift Manager !
1972, WANG 3300, multi-user Mini-Computer, School of Civil Engineering,
University of NSW. 32K or 64K of 16 bit memory, 4-user BASIC.
1975?, Cyber 72-26 in Computing Centre, [with remote batch input stations,
DEC PDP-11/40s, running RSX-11 operating system], University of NSW.
1976 Major spinal injury at University of NSW in 1976. Medically retired in 1977.
1978 to 1984, Senior Programmer, Renal Unit, R.P.A. Hospital.
Also Acting Manager of Computer Services Department as necessary.
1985 to 1988, Senior Associate BHSA (Macq. Bank subsidiary) working on
wholesale banking systems.
1988 Fujitsu, Contract as QC Analyst, testing role for LISP utilities package.
I actually remembered some of the JCL from the IBM-360 days, much to the surprise
of the Fujitsu Project Manager who thought that only IBM trained JCL programmers
could understand JCL. At the time, I thought that it was a relatively trivial chunk of JCL.
Lots of experience on DEC systems, and Communications, and Networking.
After 10 to 15 years – and lots of work on many heavy DEC machines.
1990, Annual DECUS Conference, Canberra, attended with display of PDP-11 equipment.
This was 20 years of PDP-11 systems.
1991, Certification as 'Practising Computer Professional' by Australian Computer Society.
1994 – 2007. Foundation / Honorary Treasurer of the Australian Computer Museum Society
1994, Lead article in ACMS Newsletter, Issue 1 - re my Introduction
to Computing. Later reprinted in IEEE Annals of Computing History.
1997 onwards, Chief Engineer, Burra Valley Railway, Track & Signal Division.
1999 Anti-Family Court takes away my home and business premises. Bankruptcy and
‘depression’ pending since.
Inpromptu presentation at CSIRAC Anniversary – noting that Australia has had
calculating and computing equipment – mechanical and electronic imported from
America, Europe and the United Kingdom.
The ACMS needs to succeed – because Australia has been a marketplace for the rest
of the world – we have had systems here that have not been sold in ALL THREE of
the main producing areas.
Some Digital PDP-11 Systems owned
PDP-11 systems were normally [originally] classed as mini-computers in the 1970s and 1980s,
because of their 16-bit architecture.
- Two 11/84 light Mainframe class Systems
- Three 11/70 heavy Mainframe class systems
- Two 11/45 medium sized systems
- Two 11/44 medium sized systems
- At least five 11/34 systems
- 11/24 These are all UniBUS systems designed
- 11/20 and mostly built in the 1970s. Most were sold
- 11/10 with CORE memory but could be updated
- 11/05 with CMOS memory.
- Dozens of Q-Bus PDP-11s and Professionals (desktop PDP-11s)
Now that were are blessed with 32-bit desktop toys, the size and the ability
to do ‘real work’ seems to be a better method of classification - hence current
naming as Main-Frames - possibly also because they competed with BIG systems
in many places.
Now back to other business....
Snail mail contact: MEGATRONICS, p. o. box s – 5, HOMEBUSH SOUTH, nsw, 2140.
Or simply send e-mail to: email@example.com
Site set up by: John GEREMIN, MEGATRONICS, phone 0427 10 20 60 in Australia.
[vers 1.03, 11-feb-10.] © John GEREMIN, 2010.