digital computer

digital computer

digital computer: see computer.

Computer capable of solving problems by processing information expressed in discrete form. By manipulating combinations of binary digits (see binary code), it can perform mathematical calculations, organize and analyze data, control industrial and other processes, and simulate dynamic systems such as global weather patterns. Seealso analog computer.

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MOBIDIC, for mobile digital computer, was part of a pioneering effort by the US Army Signal Corps to computerize the distribution of intelligence around the battlefield, known as Fieldata. Fieldata (6 bit code) standardized the character format, electrical signals and other details, allowing standardized computers to be built by many companies. MOBIDIC computers, built by Sylvania, were housed in two large tractor-trailer trucks, and demanded reliability that tube-based machines of the era simply couldn't provide. Although the project never left the experimental phase, two machines were delivered in 1957 and used in Germany for some time. Also, there was a MoBiDic Model 7A delivered to Fort Huachuca, Arizona in early 1960. This version had 6 Ferite Core Memory Stacks with each stack having 4,096 memory locations. The above mentions that the MoBiDic comprised two tractor trailers. One tractor trailer only housed the IBM 533 Card Reader and Card punch. In 1962 Fieldata was cancelled as part of a general reorganization within the Army.

A fourth machine was constructed and installed off the lobby of one of Sylvania's Needham, Mass. buildings that ran at least until 1965. Since it was derived from MOBIDIC but couldn't move, it was known informally as RIGIDIC.

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