CDC 6600

cdc6600The CDC 6600 by Control Data Corporation is believed to have been the first computer to be designated as a supercomputer, offering the fastest clock speed for its day (100 nanoseconds). It was one of the first computers to use Freon refrigerant cooling and as also the first commercial computer to use a CRT console. (CDC checkout engineers created computer games such as Baseball, Lunar Lander, and Space War, which became incentives for getting the machines operational. These are thought to be the first computer games that used monitors.)

The CDC 6600 was a large-scale, solid-state, general-purpose computing system. It had a distributed architecture (central scientific processor supported by ten very fast peripheral machines) and was a reduced instruction set (RISC) machine many years before such a term was invented. Input to the computer was by punch cards or seven-channel digital magnetic tape. Output was available from two line printers, a card punch, a photographic plotter, and standard magnetic tape. An interactive display console allowed users to view graphical results as data were being processed.

The CDC 6600 had 65,000 60-bit words of memory. It was equipped with a large disk storage device and six high-speed drums as storage intermediate in speed and accessibility between the central core storage and magnetic tapes. The 6600 supported the FORTRAN 66 compiler and a program library.