The following is the text of an IBM Data Processing Division press release distributed on April 7, 1964.
A new generation of electronic computing equipment was introduced today by International Business Machines Corporation.
IBM Board Chairman Thomas J. Watson Jr. called the event the most important product announcement in the company's history.
The new equipment is known as the IBM System/360.
It combines microelectronic technology, which makes possible operating speeds measured in billionths of a second, with significant advances in the concepts of computer organization.
At a press conference at the company's Poughkeepsie facilities, Mr. Watson said:
"System/360 represents a sharp departure from concepts of the past in designing and building computers. It is the product of an international effort in IBM's laboratories and plants and is the first time IBM has redesigned the basic internal architecture of its computers in a decade. The result will be more computer productivity at lower cost than ever before. This is the beginning of a new generation - - not only of computers - - but of their application in business, science and government."
More than 100,000 businessmen in 165 American cities today attended meetings at which System/360 was announced.
System/360 is a single system spanning the performance range of virtually all current IBM computers - - from the widely used 1401 to nearly twice that of the most powerful computer previously built by the company. It was developed to perform information handling jobs encompassing all types of applications.
System/360 includes in its central processors 19 combinations of graduated speed and memory capacity. Incorporated with these are more than 40 types of peripheral equipment which store information and enter it into and retrieve it from the computer. Built-in communications capability makes System/360 available to remote terminals, regardless of distance.
The equipment is supported by programs which enable System/360 to schedule its own activities for non-stop computing that makes most efficient use of system capabilities.
Internal processing power of the largest System/360 configuration is approximately 50 times greater than that of the smallest. The system's machine cycle time - - basic pulse beat of a computer - - ranges from one millionth-of-a-second to only 200 billionths-of-a-second.
System/360 core storage memory capacity ranges from 8,000 characters of information to more than 8,000,000. Information storage devices linked to the system can store additional billions of characters of data and make them available for processing at varying speeds, depending on need.
It is the balancing of these factors - - all available within a single system using one set of programming instructions - - that will make it possible for a user to select a configuration suited to his own requirements for both commercial and scientific computing. With the same type of input/output devices, a user can expand his System/360 to any point in its performance range, without reprogramming.
Some of the most significant advances represented by the new IBM System/360 include: