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The BITSAVERS.ORG Documents Library: Scientific Data Systems

Scientific Data Systems, or SDS, was an American computer company founded in September 1961 by Max Palevsky, a veteran of Packard Bell and Bendix, along with eleven other computer scientists. SDS was an early adopter of integrated circuits in computer design and the first to employ silicon transistors. The company concentrated on larger scientific workload focused machines and sold many machines to NASA during the Space Race. Most machines were both fast and relatively low priced. The company was sold to Xerox in 1969, but mismanagement and dwindling sales caused Xerox to close the division in 1975 at a loss of hundreds of millions of dollars. During the Xerox years the company was officially Xerox Data Systems, or XDS.

Throughout the majority of the 1960s the US computer market was dominated by Snow White (IBM) and the Seven Dwarves, NCR, Burroughs, Control Data Corporation, General Electric, Honeywell, RCA and UNIVAC. SDS entered this well developed market and soon carved out their own niche, a surprising development. Much of this success was due to the use of silicon-based transistors in their earliest designs, the 24-bit SDS 910 and SDS 920 which included a hardware (integer) multiplier. These are arguably the first commercial systems based on silicon, which offered much better performance for no real additional cost. Additionally the SDS machines shipped with a selection of software, notably a FORTRAN compiler, developed by Digitek, that made use of the systems' Programmed OPeratorS (POPS), and could compile, in 4K 24-bit words, programs in a single pass without the need for magnetic tape secondary storage. For scientific users writing small programs, this was a real boon and dramatically improved development turnaround time.

The 910 and 920 were supplanted by the SDS 9300, announced in June 1963. Among other changes, the 9300 included a floating point processor for higher performance. The performance increase was dramatic, the 910/920 needed 16 microseconds to add two 24-bit integers, the 9300 only 1.75, almost 10 times as fast. The 9300 also increased maximum memory from 16 kWords to 32 kWords. Although its instruction format resembled that of the earlier machines, it was not compatible with them.

In December 1963 SDS announced the SDS 930, a major re-build of the 9xx line using ICs in the central processor. It was comparable to the 9300 in basic operations, but was generally slower overall due to the lack of the 9300's memory interlace capability and hardware floating point unit (although a hardware floating point "correlation and filtering unit" was available as an expensive option). The 930 cost less than half that of the original 9300, at about $105,000. Cut-down versions of the 920 also followed, including the 12-bit SDS 92, and the IC-based 925.

Project Genie developed a segmentation and relocation system for time sharing use at the University of California, Berkeley resulting in the SDS 940. It had additional hardware for relocation and swapping of memory sections, and interruptible instructions. The 940 would go on to be a major part of Tymshare's circuit-switched network system growth in the 1960s (pre-ARPAnet and before packet-switching). A 945 was announced in July 1968 as a modified 940 with less I/O and the same compute power, but it is unclear whether this shipped.[3] In December 1966 SDS shipped the entirely new Sigma series, starting with the 16-bit Sigma 2 and the 32-bit Sigma 7, both using common hardware internally. The success of the IBM System/360 and the rise of the 7-bit ASCII character standard was pushing all vendors to the 8-bit standard from their earlier 6-bit ones. SDS was one of the first companies to offer a machine intended as an alternative to the IBM System/360; although not compatible with the 360, it used similar data formats, the EBCDIC character code, and in other ways, such as its use of multiple registers rather than an accumulator, it was designed to have specifications that were comparable to those of the 360. Various versions of the Sigma 7 followed, including the cut-down Sigma 5 and re-designed Sigma 6. The Xerox Sigma 9 was a major re-design with instruction lookahead and other advanced features, while the Sigma 8 and Sigma 9 mod 3 were low-end machines offered as a migration path for the Sigma 5. Meanwhile, the French national champion CII, as licencee of SDS, sold about 60 Sigma 7 in Europe, and developed an upgrade with virtual memory and biprocessor capability, Iris 80. CII also manufactured and sold some 160 Sigma 2. The Sigma range was very successful in the niche real-time processing field, due to the sophisticated hardware interrupt structure and independent I/O processor. The first node of ARPANET was established by Leonard Kleinrock at UCLA with an SDS Sigma 7 system. Even with these successes, when Xerox bought the company in 1969 they sold only about 1% of the computers in the US, something Xerox never seemed to improve. When they were purchased, about 1,000 SDS machines of all types were in the market, and by the time the division closed in 1975 this had increased to only about 2,100. By this point the newer Xerox 550 and 560 models, extensively re-designed Sigmas, were about to come to market and were extensively back ordered. Most rights were sold to Honeywell in July, 1975 who produced Sigmas for a short period, and provided support into the 1980s.

Several manufacturers attempted to enter the Sigma 9 replacement market. The first successful design was the Telefile T-85, but it is not clear how many were sold. Other efforts, including the Modutest Model 9, Ilene Model 9000 and Real-time RCE-9 were designed, but it is not clear if they were ever produced past the prototype stage.

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From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: CP-V listing revD00B sep75 :: tel
Topics: hoi, sep, fgu, data, def, text, cmnd, syntax, fqu, command, text text, fgu fgu, command verb, set...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 901674F CP-V B00 System Management Ref Mar74
Topics: command, user, device, oooooooo, processor, control, file, batch, error, system, oooooooo oooooooo,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 903113B-2 CP-V System Programming Ref Sep78
Topics: user, error, command, device, processor, address, byte, program, specifies, system, error log,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-r :: 90 30 88c CP-R Feb77
Topics: entry, file, byte, task, address, command, control, device, module, entries, load module, sequence...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 901995D-3 databaseTech Sep78
Topics: jit, file, address, user, manual, byte, technical, error, device, record, technical manual, disk...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 903113A-1 CP-V C01 System Programming Ref May75
Topics: user, error, command, device, processor, address, byte, system, program, specifies, error log,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 900907H CP-V timesharingRef Sep78
Topics: command, file, user, specifies, terminal, output, edit, commands, input, device, load module,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 903113B CP-V D00 System Programming Ref Nov75
Topics: user, command, error, device, processor, address, byte, specifies, program, system, error log,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-r :: 90 30 85d CP-R Batch Apr76
Topics: file, address, command, error, user, control, task, device, disk, program, parameter presence,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: lang :: 901931C APL Jun75
Topics: apl, function, user, workspace, error, command, input, file, vector, functions, apl system, active...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: btm :: 901741A BPM BTM System Management Dec71
Topics: file, monitor, user, locct, control, system, batch, command, processor, load, control command, load...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 901674H-2 CP-V System Management Ref Sep78
Topics: command, user, device, control, batch, system, processor, specifies, default, file, control...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: rbm :: 901037I Real-TIme and Batch Processing Ref Man Feb75
Topics: control, command, foreground, device, file, program, rbm, task, operational, control command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 903113A CP-V C00 System Programming Ref Oct74
Topics: user, error, command, device, processor, address, byte, specifies, program, system, error log,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901111C 940 BASIC Aug68
Topics: print, step, command, basic, program, array, expression, input, mat, file, step mat, input file,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: CP-V listing revD00B sep75 :: mm
Topics: equ, sep, rff, hoi, granule, buffer, jit, user, bne, dff, rff rff, allocation allocation, granule...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 901675H CP-V Operators Reference Man Sep78
Topics: operator, error, message, device, tape, file, system, command, cpu, output, serial number,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: rbm :: 901037E Real-Time Batch Monitor Reference Mar71
Topics: control, command, foreground, device, rbm, file, program, background, task, control command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: memos :: 702489 UTS Functional Specification Mar69
Topics: user, command, file, uts, program, batch, commands, users, control, terminal, symbol table,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: 900907C UTS Time-Sharing Ref Nov71
Topics: command, file, user, edit, commands, output, terminal, program, error, tab, command summary,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: rbm :: 901153F RBM Technical Manual Feb75
Topics: file, device, entry, overlay, rbm, address, byte, command, status, error, byte count, symbol table,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 901764H Batch Processing Reference Man Sep78
Topics: file, specifies, dcb, control, user, command, device, load, error, module, load module, control...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 901692D-4 Time-Sharing Users Guide Dec75
Topics: command, file, user, program, output, terminal, input, specifies, commands, edit, set command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: btm :: 901577A Sigma5 BTM ref Feb69
Topics: user, command, file, subsystem, input, commands, btm, program, symbol, character, sequence number,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: rbm :: 901581B Sigma5 RBM Apr70
Topics: control, program, command, foreground, file, device, overlay, user, dcb, control command, control...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: lang :: 901052F Sigma2 ExtendedSymbol Apr76
Topics: symbol, directive, label, program, assembly, assembler, location, procedure, address, argument,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: rbm :: 901785A Real-Time Batch Monitor Users Guide Jan72
Topics: file, program, rbm, fortran, foreground, command, data, module, interrupt, object module, extended...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901113A 940 DDT RefMan May67
Topics: ddt, location, commands, user, contents, msi, symbols, bru, symbol, command, command purpose, opens...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: lang :: 901501G Sigma5 COBOL Operations May76
Topics: cobol, program, specifies, control, data, xerox, command, deck, object, source, control command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901111B 940 BASIC Jan68
Topics: basic, print, command, program, step, input, variable, expression, file, user, input file, step...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: rbm :: 901037F-Real-Time Batch Monitor Reference Mar72
Topics: control, command, foreground, device, file, rbm, program, background, overlay, control command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: rbm :: 901037F Sigma2 RBM Mar72
Topics: control, command, foreground, device, file, rbm, program, background, overlay, control command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: 901877B System Generation Tech Sep73
Topics: table, entry, module, address, equ, flow, command, uts, diagram, flow diagram, load module, work...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: rbm :: 901581A Sigma5 RBM-2 Nov69
Topics: control, program, command, foreground, file, device, user, overlay, dcb, control command, control...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: lang :: 901199H sortMerge Jun75
Topics: specifies, file, input, user, output, merge, byte, sort, records, input file, control command, file...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901112A 940 QED RefMan Apr68
Topics: text, user, qed, buffer, control, string, command, typed, main, characters, main text, text buffer,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 903080B CP-V Common Index Dec74
Topics: control, xii, error, xerox, command, terminal, transaction, viii, file, user, report delivery,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: tsd :: 901520A TSD Reference Manual Jan68
Topics: user, command, debug, tsd, symbol, edit, subsystem, program, location, output, user program, tsd...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 903026C remoteProcessing Dec75
Topics: remote, device, workstation, command, output, specifies, file, system, control, processing, remote...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 707000-11E00 CP-V
Topics: catalog, file, command, files, modules, user, coc, data, account, sysgen, file management, data...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: ucbProjectGenie :: mcjones :: R-22 execRefMan
Topics: file, user, commands, command, teletype, subsystem, tss, drum, input, output, output file, input...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: 901985A UTS Basic Control and Basic IO Tech Feb73
Topics: uts, error, trap, device, manual, interrupt, technical, handler, data, code, technical manual, uts...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-r :: 903086D CP-R Operations Mar76
Topics: device, operator, system, error, program, foreground, control, task, background, file, error log,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: lang :: 901851C textLangRef May76
Topics: command, text, document, user, lines, commands, request, printout, terminal, storage, working...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: rbm :: 901647A RBM Operations Man Feb70
Topics: program, foreground, command, operator, control, loader, background, monitor, device, rad editor,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: tsd :: TSD Design Specification Jul67
Topics: user, tsd, spec, command, concepts, symbol, commands, design, subsystem, debug, tsd design, systems...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: btm :: 901679A Sigma5 BTM userGuide feb70
Topics: file, subsystem, specifies, edit, command, program, string, record, user, sequence, edit subsystem,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: rbm :: 901555D RBM Operations Ref Mar71
Topics: control, device, parameter, rbm, command, file, commands, debug, error, rad editor, control...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901112B 940 QED RefMan Jan69
Topics: text, user, qed, buffer, control, string, command, typed, main, characters, main text, text buffer,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: rbm :: 901700C Sigma5 RBM sysTech Mar71
Topics: file, entry, byte, table, command, loader, program, control, overlay, dynamic table, table area,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: ucbProjectGenie :: mcjones :: P-14
Topics: teletype, command, tor, program, output, commands, user, characters, system, language, command...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: 901994A UTS System Processors Tech Feb73
Topics: uts, stack, file, symbol, manual, command, technical, expression, input, load, technical manual,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 707000-11F00 CP-V
Topics: severity, eoo, file, processors, utility, ity, command, sever, system, tape, utility processors,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: 901986A UTS System And Memory Management Tech Feb73
Topics: user, uts, processor, virtual, command, jit, physical, technical, manual, set, uts technical,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901114A 940 CAL RefMan Jun67
Topics: cal, step, program, type, set, user, command, statement, variable, delete, carriage return, form...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901115A 940 FORTRAN IV Sep67
Topics: statement, fortran, program, statements, integer, data, format, converted, function, command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: lang :: 903000C Sigma5 AssemblyProgram Jun75
Topics: directive, procedure, symbol, label, reference, field, error, command, list, program, procedure...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 903066B IDP Dec75
Topics: idp, command, user, display, report, item, query, error, items, database, idp commands, syntax...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: ucbProjectGenie :: 20.70.20 DrumRefMan
Topics: drum, command, channel, indicator, core, parity, dctx, computer, location, record, drum channel,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: 16-bit :: bcm :: 901064C Basic Control Monitor Reference Aug69
Topics: control, device, command, bcm, task, operational, sequence, loader, input, foreground, control...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 707000-91C00 CP-V Nov74
Topics: column, catalog, change, sentence, delete, message, command, table, handlers, add, manual updates,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: ucbProjectGenie :: 30.60.30 QED Nov65
Topics: text, buffer, qed, string, prints, character, command, characters, commands, deletes, text input,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: btm :: 901932A BPM BTM Peripheral Conversion Language Tech Aug72
Topics: file, error, output, input, command, device, buffer, set, dcb, code, usage calling, monitor...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: 901993A UTS Command Processors Tech Feb73
Topics: command, error, uts, output, control, manual, file, jit, character, address, technical manual,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: lang :: 903060A Sigma5 COBOL Debugger Sep73
Topics: debugger, command, commands, execution, cobol, identifier, program, breakpoint, programmer, data,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: ucbProjectGenie :: mcjones :: R-37 RUNOFF
Topics: runoff, command, lines, text, commands, logical, format, margin, hyphenation, characters, manual...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: rbm :: 901037F Sigma2 RBM Mar72
Topics: control, command, foreground, device, file, rbm, program, background, overlay, control command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 901692D CP-V Time-Sharing Users Guide Jun73
Topics: command, file, user, program, terminal, output, commands, edit, input, tel, set command, sequence...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901118B 940 TerminalUsersGuide Apr68
Topics: file, user, command, executive, teletype, subsystem, files, memory, qed, program, user memory, file...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: lang :: 901790A Sigma5 symbol Jun71
Topics: symbol, location, directive, label, program, field, byte, equ, decimal, assembler, location...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: ucbProjectGenie :: R-22 Executive Reference Manual Rev 1.9 Nov68
Topics: file, user, command, subsystem, teletype, drum, input, tape, commands, tss, file directory, user...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: ucbProjectGenie :: mcjones :: R-11 DDT
Topics: ddt, symbol, command, contents, typed, symbols, cell, program, commands, address, printout mode,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: periph :: 900979C 7201 7202 7203 7204 RAD Oct69
Topics: data, byte, address, sigma, command, interrupt, status, sector, storage, rad controller, address...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: ucbProjectGenie :: mcjones :: 30.60.70
Topics: storage, program, routine, string, user, symbol, table, compiler, character, pointer, symbol table,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: memos :: 702489 UTS Functional Specification Prelim Jun68
Topics: user, command, file, drawing, uts, batch, commands, symbol, edit, program, symbol table, load...