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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 :: 9xx :: 940 :: olds :: 870041-51A Unit 19 F Channel Disc May69
Topics: bcd, test, brm, bru, disc, sta, data, lda, channel, nop, disc file, object test, perform test,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: CP-V listing revD00B sep75 :: rbatm
Topics: equ, data, eou, sep, hoi, tmpstk, mol, bne, baz, ecu, data data, eou eou, extended display, equ...
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-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 :: 9xx :: 940 :: olds :: 870038-51A Unit 21 W DISC Feb69
Topics: bcd, bru, brm, test, disc, data, sta, nop, channel, lda, disc file, object test, perform object,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: periph :: 901029A RADtechManual
Topics: sds, signal, controller, memory, unit, data, clock, clk, signals, rad memory, selection unit, rad...
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 :: 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 :: 901995D databaseTech Feb76
Topics: jit, file, address, manual, byte, user, technical, device, error, record, technical manual, disk...
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 :: 9xx :: periph :: 900647B MAGPAK TechManual
Topics: tape, sds, unit, control, logic, signal, write, magpak, buffer, harvey register, tape control,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: periph :: 901013A 7371 7372 7374 Magtape Maint Oct68
Topics: sds, tape, controller, station, signal, iop, reel, data, write, assembly, magnetic tape, buffer...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: lang :: 901500D Sigma5 COBOL LangRef May76
Topics: data, statement, clause, format, item, cobol, picture, program, description, file, update update,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: 901984A UTS Overview And Index Tech Sep73
Topics: jit, uts, user, file, sss, monitor, manual, batch, processors, system, technical manual, uts...
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 :: 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 :: 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 :: btm :: 903061A BPM BTM Subsystems And Utilities Tech Sep73
Topics: file, error, user, address, record, return, module, load, exit, subroutine, error message, load...
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 :: CP-V listing revD00B sep75 :: logon
Topics: data, user, hoi, sep, file, res, fgu, jit, txtc, plist, data data, rate file, return address, rad...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: memos :: LLNL OS Comparision Jan73
Topics: svc, ibm, honeywell, supervisor, iii, gcos, system, operating, univac, file, gcos iii, call...
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 :: rbm :: 901700E RBM System Tech Man May75
Topics: byte, entry, file, control, task, address, module, load, table, overlay, load module, dynamic...
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 :: cp-v :: 903012C-1 EDMS Ref Jun75
Topics: group, database, occurrence, set, data, schema, dbm, file, occurrences, item, group occurrence,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: periph :: SDS 9367B training
Topics: coupler, disc, sector, clk, flip, phase, selection, address, data, flip flop, selection unit,...
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 :: 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 :: sigma :: uts :: 901989A UTS File Management Tech Feb74
Topics: file, volume, dcb, uts, tape, record, entry, user, technical, buffer, uts technical, technical...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: CP-V listing revD00B sep75 :: initrcvr
Topics: sua, device, hoi, equ, dump, dctx, sep, rff, eou, data, sref sref, eou eou, dump file, device...
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 :: cp-v :: CP-V listing revD00B sep75 :: ghost1d
Topics: sep, sref, fgu, hoi, fqu, input, textc, dcb, pasortn, initialize, patch file, batch scheduler,...
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 :: cp-v :: 707000-61C01 CP-V May75
Topics: file, files, catalog, pcl, sysgen, modules, batch, system, data, user, read read, data base,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901116C 940 TimesharingTechMan Mar69
Topics: file, user, brs, fork, disc, teletype, output, interrupt, program, table, file directory, hash...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 707000-61E01 CP-V
Topics: mpc, sigma, disk, default, modules, firmware, file, sysgen, files, program, mpc disk, sys sys, test...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901116B 940 TimesharingTechMan Aug68
Topics: file, user, brs, fork, disc, teletype, output, program, string, table, file directory, hash table,...
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 :: 9xx :: 940 :: harvard :: 940 Monitor Exec :: msw0
Topics: bru, lda, brm, sta, ldx, brr, min, stb, ske, ldb, sta cdal, file exciseds, read fail, file...
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 :: sigma :: lang :: 901546G BASIC Aug74
Topics: string, statement, input, program, basic, print, mat, file, array, data, basic program, mat aname,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: harvard :: 940 Monitor Exec :: syms
Topics: zro, equ, bss, usym, data, xsym, ext, bru, brs, file
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 707000-11D00 CP-V D00 Release Notes Dec75
Topics: catalog, user, modules, file, sidrs, files, account, data, sysgen, system, data base, test tape,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: olds :: 870029A OLDS Update Feb69
Topics: file, tape, filf, tapf, unit, assemble, exercisers, save, generated, files, tape file, file tape,...
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 :: uts :: memos :: ISAM For UTS Nov72
Topics: file, isam, files, data, keyed, blocks, block, user, key, uts, data blocks, keyed files, access...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: uts :: memos :: UTS 1972 Concepts and Capabilities Aug72
Topics: uts, system, batch, file, files, control, remote, operator, processors, user, remote batch, file...
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 :: harvard :: 940 Monitor Exec :: dsc
Topics: bru, lda, ldx, sta, brm, brr, etr, zro, min, ldb, bru trap, ldx buff, ldx file, bru popx, zro ldx,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: CP-V listing revD00B sep75 :: mailbx
Topics: equ, oooooooo, mailbox, sep, hoi, def, message, ooooo, mailbx, file, oooooooo oooooooo, data 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 :: 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 :: xos :: XOS And XMS Operating System Evaluation Nov70
Topics: xos, xms, xds, uts, functional, file, cii, program, communications, ibm, functional...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: cp-v :: 707000-11B00 CP-V B00 Release Notes Apr74
Topics: catalog, file, device, boo, user, sysgen, files, tape, dcb, assign, real time, special shared, load...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: monarch :: 900616D MONARCH TechMan Apr68
Topics: monarch, subroutine, loader, control, subroutines, routine, file, symbol, address, monarch control,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: 940 :: 901116A 940 TimesharingTechMan Nov67
Topics: brs, file, user, fork, output, registers, string, program, teletype, input, user calling, file...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: 9xx :: lang :: 900883A 9300 FORTRAN IV Tech Aug65
Topics: list, pointer, plex, word, symbol, character, program, code, pass, output, symbol table, work list,...
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 :: 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 :: programLibrary :: LADC Catalog Mar82
Topics: aoo, catalog, processor, decks, mtrnmfile, pcn, file, software, verify, software library, library...
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 :: 9xx :: programLibrary :: LADC MasterTapeList Mar82
Topics: scratching, tape, denotes, empl, listing, orgn, unlabeled, slot, creation, rpt, denotes tape, slot...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document. sds :: sigma :: memos :: TOPS10 vs UTS Jun72
Topics: uts, user, system, file, core, batch, systems, memory, operating, sigma, operating system, response...