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About the Author

Roderic Alan Davis, 2nd. Retired computer professional. Here is a brief chronology of my life as it relates to computers and genealogy.

  • 1958 Built my first computer. This was a basic analog computer that could solve simple equations. It won second place in my high school science fair.
  • 1959 Wrote my first computer program. It was for an IBM 650, to which I had no access. (The 650 was an ancient vacuum tube computer, one of IBM's first commercial computer products.) I was working from a manual that I had found in the Syracuse University (NY) bookstore on a debating trip. Two years later, working as a summer co-op computer operater at IBM's Product Testing Laboratory, I had an opportunity to test the program on a 650 simulator running on an IBM 7094. I cannot remember what that program did, but I do remember there were no bugs!

    The 7090 series was IBM's first transisterized computer, based on the earlier 709 (vacuum tube) model. It's early designation was 709-T, T for Transistor. 709-T = 7090.

  • 1960 Built my second computer. This was a much more ambitious digital computer that played perfect tic-tac-toe. With this, I won third place in the New York State Science Fair. We top winners got to show our projects at a booth in the NY State Fair. We lunched with the governor (Rockefeller) and everything!
    The logic was implemented with some 50 relays. It was unbeatable, but could be tied with perfect play. I incorporated a hidden switch that would introduce an error, causing the machine to make a wrong move. I had some fun with that at the State Fair.
  • 1961 Working as a summer co-op in IBM's Product Testing Laboratory, I wrote my second program. This program, written for an IBM 1410 (or 7010? I can't remember), continuously printed random grammatical, but nonsensical, English sentences. The design was based on a simple English grammar in a Scientific American article by a Dr. Victor Yngve. The program was a huge success, and seemed very mysterious, almost spooky. It was used as an Open House demo for a number of years -- even after they scrapped the 7010. They used it to test the 7010 emulator on one of the new System/360 models, and continued to use it for Open House.
  • 1964 Started with IBM.
  • 1979 Started 30 month international assignment in Stockholm, Sweden, as Chief Designer of the APL interpreter for the DPPX/8100 system.
  • 1994 Retired from IBM
  • 1997 Christmas: Bought my first PC.
  • 1998 Started working on the family genealogy. I had 10 pages of typescript notes and two unpublished monographs that had been prepared by various family members over 4 generations.
  • 2002 Moved Genealogy, et Cetera to RootsWeb.
  • 2005 Coronary bypass surgery. Time for some lifestyle changes!

My Blogger user profile: http://www.blogger.com/profile/06604174854633159692

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© 1998, 2014
Roderic A. Davis, 2nd
All Rights Reserved
Email: Rod Dav4is
 dav4is @ YAHOO.com
Snail:
 Genealogy, et Cetera
 c/o Rod Davis
 P.O. Box 118
 Hyde Park, NY 12538
 USA

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