IBM introduces the major elements of its token-ring local area network for sharing computers, printers, files and devices in a building or building complex. Token-ring architecture quickly becomes an industry standard for Local Area Networks (LANs).
IBM researchers work with scientists from the New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematical Science to design RP3, an experimental computer consisting of up to 512 processors, linked in parallel and connected to as many as two billion characters of main memory. Over the next five years, IBM provides more than $30 million in products and support to a supercomputer facility established at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.
IBM President John F. Akers succeeds John R. Opel as chief executive officer, effective February 1.
IBM Educational Systems is formed as a business unit to provide computer systems, educational courseware and services to elementary, secondary and vocational-technical schools.
IBM adds two new processors: the IBM 3090 Models 200 and 400. A vector processing feature is introduced for the IBM 3090 to enable it to run many computation-intensive programs between 1.5 and 3 times faster than previously possible.
The company also announces in 1985: two low-cost desktop printers for the personal computer (the Proprinter, for high-speed impact printing, and the IBM Color Jetprinter for color charts, graphs, spreadsheets and text); the IBM 7531 and 7532 Industrial Computers, to provide greater data processing power and flexibility for a broad spectrum of manufacturing uses; the IBM 9003 industrial computer, designed to handle a wide variety of manufacturing and process control tasks; and the IBM System/88, a fault tolerant computer system, to provide uninterrupted service to online terminal users in banking, retailing, manufacturing and other industries.
Among the software offerings announced in 1985 are COBOL Structuring Facility, to use artificial intelligence techniques to structure existing programs written in the COBOL language so they can be maintained and modified more easily; Expert System Environment/VM, a development tool for constructing and using knowledge bases; and VM Programming in Logic, used for artificial intelligence research and development.
Other products launched in 1985: the IBM 3833 and 3834 modems; the IR/38, an advanced, benchtop spectrometer developed and marketed by IBM Instruments, Inc.; the IBM 9630 gas chromograph, a powerful analytical tool designed for use in the chemical, pharmaceutical and food industries; the IBM Actionwriter 1 Typewriter, the company's lowest-price electronic typewriter; four new IBM Selectric System/200 typewriters - the IBM Wheelwriter System/20 and System/40 and the IBM Quietwriter System/20 and System/40 models - and the Quietwriter printer model 2, to provide added flexibility for text processing and graphics.
IBM wins a U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) contract for the definition and preliminary design of the data management system for the first permanently manned U.S. space station.
The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) awards IBM's Federal Systems Division a contract valued at $197 million to upgrade the computer systems which support 20 air traffic control centers in the United States. The contract calls for installation of two IBM 3083 BX 1 systems at each center, and is regarded as a major step in the FAA's program to modernize the air traffic control system.
U.S. President Ronald Reagan awards the National Medal of Science to retired IBM Fellow Herman H. Goldstine, and the National Technology Medal to retired employees Erich Bloch, Frederick P. Brooks and Bob O. Evans.
Scientists at IBM's Zurich Research Laboratory in Switzerland develop a compact scanning tunneling microscope that shows how atoms are arranged on a variety of surfaces. The unit is the latest development of a microscopy technique invented by the scientists in 1981.
Researchers at IBM's Yorktown, New York, research center fabricate the densest integrated circuits yet reported on two types of experimental integrated circuit chips. The novel fabrication process allows scientists to shrink electronic circuits into an area 16 times smaller than possible with then current semiconductor manufacturing technology.
IBM, Aetna Life & Casualty and MCI Communications Corporation agree that MCI will acquire substantially all the assets and operations of Satellite Business Systems.
IBM Japan Ltd. and Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation establish an equally-held joint venture in Japan called Nippon Information and Communication Corporation. The new venture, to begin operations in January 1986, will offer telecommunications services, including a system that provides users access to remotely located computers via telephone lines for exchange of text, computerized images and graphics.
The IBM Faculty Loan Program grants leaves to more than 100 employees to give full-time assistance at educational institutions.
IBM announces a five-year program to enhance reading and writing skills among black South African children. IBM is to supply 250 South African schools with "Writing to Read" laboratories, at a cost of approximately $10 million, for use by more than 37,000 black elementary school children per year. The company also says that it would make grants totaling $5 million over the next five years for programs to foster black enterprise in South Africa.
IBM establishes the Product Initiatives for Persons with Disabilities project office to be the focal point for IBM product development activities aimed toward helping disabled people, and the National Support Center for Persons with Disabilities to provide information on how the disabled could use IBM products.
In all, IBM's contributions of cash, equipment and other resources to social, cultural and educational programs worldwide amount to more than $188 million in 1985.
Of the more than 10,250 new employees hired in the United States in 1985, over 45 percent are women and over 22 percent are minorities. About 5,200 women and 3,600 minority employees hold management positions at year-end, and of those, almost 500 women and 500 minorities are in the top 20 percent of U.S. management jobs. The company also purchases more than $125 million in products and services from some 850 minority-owned firms, over $70 million from more than 700 firms owned primarily by women, and over $17 million from more than 70 companies employing handicapped workers.