The Early Era

The Bendix G-15 was a small, very early computing device. It was purchased in 1959 with money obtained from a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, and was used in a few courses as well as by some faculty in their research. The G-15 was operated in an open-shop environment, and scheduled by use of a sign-up sheet with two-hour slots.

The only picture I could find of a G-15 was from an ad in CACM around 1962. It's actually an ad for one of their software products but included a picture of a G-15 in the background.

See also:

as well as more links from those two URLs.

Some time during this period a Calcomp pen plotter was acquired that would eventually be connected to several computers (including the Philco and Sigma 7). This was a Bendix PA-3 plotter which was actually a Calcomp model 560R with a few trivial modifications (including blue paint to match the Bendix color scheme).

Within two years it had become difficult to find an empty time slot on the sign-up sheet. To improve the computing capacity at UW, an IBM 1620 was purchased with UW funds, and was also operated in an open shop with a sign-up sheet.

During this time the computers were overseen by a three-quarter-time director, a half-time secretary, and two graduate students. Both systems resided in a room in the basement of the Commerce and Industry building (now the College of Business).

By 1964 both systems were scheduled almost 24 hours a day, every day of the week. More classes were using them, and more faculty were doing research that needed computing. It was clear that a significant increase in computing power was necessary, so a search was started to find the best system to purchase as a replacement.

I understand that Bendix, or at least their computer division, was acquired by Control Data Corporation sometime around 1962 or 1963. They briefly continued to sell the Bendix G-20.

Next: The Philco Era