Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
The IBM 704, the first mass-produced computer with floating point arithmetic hardware, was introduced by IBM in April, 1956. The 704 was significantly improved over the IBM 701 in terms of architecture as well as implementation, and was not compatible with its predecessor.
Changes from the 701 included the use of core memory (instead of Williams tubes) and addition of three index registers. To support these new features, the instructions were expanded to use the full 36-bit word. The new instruction set became the base for the IBM 700/7000 series scientific computers.
To quote the IBM 704 Manual of operation (see external links below):
- The type 704 Electronic Data-Processing Machine is a large-scale,
- high-speed electronic calculator controlled by an internally stored
- program of the single address type.
IBM stated that the device was capable of executing up to 40,000 instructions per second. IBM sold 123 type 704 systems from 1955 to 1960.
The basic instruction format was a 3-bit prefix, 15-bit decrement, 3-bit tag, and 15-bit address. The prefix field specified the class of instruction. The decrement field often contained an immediate operand to modify the results of the operation, or was used to further define the instruction type. The three bits of the tag specified three index registers, the contents of which were subtracted from the address to produce an effective address . The address field either contained an address or an immediate operand.
- Charles J. Bashe, Lyle R. Johnson, John H. Palmer, Emerson W. Pugh, IBM's Early Computers (MIT Press, Cambridge, 1986)
- IBM (...) TYPE 704 Manual of operation: Preliminary edition (scans of pp. 1–39)
- Complete Manual of Operation and other IBM 704 manuals (PDF)
- Applications and installations of the IBM 704 Data Processing System – From A Third Survey of Domestic Electronic Digital Computing Systems, Report No. 1115, March 1961, by Martin H. Weik. Ballistic Research Laboratories, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. Text format conversion of source paper document at the Computer History Museum (http://www.computerhistory.org).
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