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The IBM NORC, the First Supercomputer (1950 – 1954)


Between 1950 and 1954 IBM developed and built at Columbia University's Watson Scientific Computing Laboratory, 612 West 115th Street location, the Naval Ordnance Research Computer (NORC)—for the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ordnance. The NORC was the "first supercomputer," and "the most powerful computer on earth from 1954 to about 1963." The NORC’s multiplication unit remains the fastest ever built with vacuum tube technology.

IBM introduced the input-output channel as a feature on the NORC. This innovation synchronized the flow of data into and out of the computer while computation was in progress, relieving the central processor of that task.