History of Norsk Data

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A brief list of some events in the Norsk Data history.

1967

  • In July, Norsk Data-Elektronikk is founded
  • In September, it is made publically traded

1968

  • Three NORD-1 installed
  • The NORD-1 is completed, featuring an unusually rich register set, and floating-point arithmetic as standard equipment, possibly the first minicomputer to do so

1969

  • A virtual memory system for the NORD-1 is created. One of the first minicomputer to do so (the Burroughs B5000 was the first computer[citation needed])
  • 11 NORD-1 installed

1970

  • 17 NORD-1 installed

1971

  • 28 NORD-1 installed
  • Development is started on the NORDIC system, NORDCOM, and NORD-20
  • The company moves in to new offices in Økern Business Center, using 850 m2.

1972

  • 29 NORD-1 installed, one NORD-5
  • NORDIC completed
  • BASIC compiler developed
  • Terminal systems developed
  • NORD-TSS in development, a multi-user multi-lingual time-sharing operating system
  • NORD-20 introduced
  • Development of the NORD-10 started, estimated finished first half of 1973

1973

  • 36 NORD-1 installed, one NORD-5 (Computas A.S.)
  • 12 NORD-10 installed
  • Market demands increase sharply after CERN contract
  • Contracts signed in Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, and France
  • 32% of orders from export
  • NORD-TSS completed
  • NORD-PL developed
  • ND starts a licensing agreement with the central institute for industrial research to use and further develop the database system SIBAS
  • Contract signed with ASEA-ATOM for three systems for 6 million NOK, each consisting of a configuration of NORD-10/5s. Systems to be used for surveillance and control of nuclear power plants.

1974

  • 36 NORD-1 installed, one NORD-5
  • 46 NORD-10 installed
  • NORD-12 and NORD-50 in planning and development
  • NORD-42 is completed, with MOS memory using 4Kb chips. First delivery in the summer.
  • The NORDCOM-74 is developed, an updated NORDCOM system
  • Further development of different I/O controllers for the NORD-10, including the NORDCOM graphics system
  • Development of administrative software. Software development team is twice the size of the hardware team
  • Development of SINTRAN III dominates the software division manpower. The first SINTRAN-III systems are installed in late 1974.
  • The company moves in to new offices in Lørenvn. 57 in August, using 5 800 m2. Thought to be sufficient until first quarter 1976.
  • A daughter company is considered in Stockholm, Sweden, to be operative 4th quarter 1975.
  • First contract with Cern, Lab. II is signed, using the NORD-10.

1975

  • Four NORD-1 installed
  • 62 NORD-10 installed, three NORD-50
  • The NORD-50 is completed, a second-generation 32-bit superminicomputer
  • A solid-state memory system for the NORD-10 is developed
  • Large mass storage system for the NORD-10 developed
  • The typesetting system GMS-12, the ancestor of NORTEXT, is developed for NTB
  • NORDFORSK, a Nordic technical research network, is developed using a NORD-12 core system
  • SIBAS, a Codasyl-based, multi-user on-line database management system, is introduced

1976

  • 83 NORD-10 installed, three NORD-50
  • Planning of the building on Furuset is almost completed. Building is planned to be approx. 9 800 m2, and planned cost is approx. 42 mill. NOK.

1977

  • 114 NORD-10/NORD-10/S installed, seven NORD-50
  • NORD-10/S introduced
  • Initial deliveries worth 4.5 million NOK for the first parts of the F-16 airplane simulator. Approximately 18 more simulator systems are expected to be delivered

1978

  • Relocation to the new building takes place medio August
  • Contract with Singer Link for the delivery of 6 more simulators
  • CERN is still an active customer. 120 machines sold this year. There have been suggestions of about 40 more simulators being needed.
  • Development of the NORD-100, originally designated the NORD-10/M, and intended as a lower-cost bitsliced version of the NORD-10. Just happened to end up significantly faster. It seems to have been the first single-board 16-bit minicomputer.

1979

  • With effect from July 3, Norsk Data took over part of the business of the former Tandberg Radiofabrikk A/S. Tandberg is expected to show a profit by 1980.
  • Norsk Data introduces the NORD-100
  • Development of the ND-500 begins
  • Another large order for F-16 simulators is recieved
  • Norsk Data takes over a 16700 m2 industrial building at Skullerud, Oslo. The building is leased to Tandberg.
  • ND-NOTIS, an integrated word processing and administrative data processing system, is introduced.

1980

  • Effective from January 1st, Norsk Data absorbs the four Comtec companies in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and West Germany from Nobø Fabrikker.
  • Tandberg becomes independent of Norsk Data in the autumn of 1980. Profit was well below the anticipations.
  • ACCESS, an on-line query system, allowing user-friendly access to a data-base via interactive terminals.

1981

  • The average price of a delivered computer was NOK 750 000, and had on average 512 Kbyte RAM, 110 Mbyte hard disk storage, and 16 terminals.
  • The ND Satellite range is introduced (see ND-100 Satellite)

1982

  • COSMOS finishes development. COSMOS was a networking system permitting applications and databases to be shared through a data network.
  • ND-SAFE (backronymed to System Architecture For Expansion) is introduced
  • ND-ORBIS (Organization Related Business Information System) is introduced
  • The ND-100/CX is introduced
  • The ND-500 is split into three systems: ND-520, ND-560, and ND-570 (?)
  • Norsk Data starts[1] a cooperative effort with the Unversity of Kiel, Germany, to develop new compilers using VDM, the Vienna Development Method. New compilers (e.g. Pascal, C, BASIC) began to come out of this effort in the second half of the decade.

1982

1985

  • The ND-120/CX CPU is introduced, with from 2MB to 6MB of onboard RAM.

1986

  • ND-580/CX model 20, 30 and 40, systems based on two to four ND-570 CPU:s and one ND-110/CX CPU, is introduced[2].

1987

The ND-5000 family is introduced.[3]

1988

Notable installations

  • CERN
  • JET [5] [6] [7]
    • Camtech Electronics Ltd., was established in 1979 by its two founding directors, to work on a contract to develop a sophisticated CAMAC interface for the JET network of Norsk Data computers. CAMAC is a modular data handling system used at almost every nuclear physics research laboratory and many industrial sites all over the world. Its function is to provide a scheme to allow a wide range of modular instruments to be interfaced to a standardised back-plane called a DATAWAY.
  • TSPL, 1987. [8]
  • BMC, [9]
    • BMC's computer department was established in September 1976 with a budget of 1.35 MSEK. That was enough to create for its time a powerful computer center with two NORD-10 mini computers and an Alpha LSI-2 from Computer Automation. That was the first large affair for Norsk Data's newly started Swedish office. It was won in competition with among others Digital Equipment AB offering PDP-11/70 and PDP-11/45 computers. The both NORD-10 were finally replaced after 10 years by a VAX-8200 from Digital Equipment Corporation.
  • SCANNET, an early packet switched computer network connecting the five Scandinavian countries. It used five NORD-12, one in each country, and leased phone lines. The project started in 1974 and it became operational in 1976. It gave remote terminal access to library databases. The budget of 1 MSEK was enough to get five NORD-12 computers and they were used until 1983. Protocols used were X.25 and X.75.[10][11]
  • University of Oslo was a natural place for a number of different ND machines.

Sources

  1. VDM '87: VDM-Europe Symposium 1987, Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Springer-Verlag
  2. NEWS October 1986, pg 56-57.
  3. "Norsk Data's Flagship" (found at The Defense Technical Information Center, "Series 5000: Double Performance, Half Price", page 20. size 6 MB, original published by Aftenposten 28 January 1987 page 48, in Norwegian). Accessed on 14 August 2009.
  4. Promotional material
  5. Discussion about Norsk Data measurement system hardware.
  6. The development of the JET control and data acquisition system, Schmidt, V. Nuclear Science, IEEE Transactions on, Volume 45, Issue 4, Aug 1998 Page(s):2026 - 2032.
  7. Integrated control and data acquisition of experimental facilities , ISSN 1616-6361, Volume 215/1984, Computing in Accelerator Design and Operation, 1984, ISBN 978-3-540-13909-6.
  8. Delivery of Norsk Data computers at The Scotsman Publications Ltd.
  9. BMC:s dataavdelning, historik
  10. SCANNET by Björn Grönlund
  11. The History of Nordunet by Kaarina Lehtisalo.