The Daily Universe celebrates 50 years
This story originally appeared in the Daily Universe on Oct. 12 1961
An intricate computer which does hours of mathematical calculation work in a matter of minutes was presented to BYU last week by Bendix Computers of Denver, Colo.
The electronic mathematician will cut hours from the routine homework of BYU engineering students, said Thomas Klest, the company?s district manager.
ACCORDING TO Dr. John Simonsen, chairman of the Mechanical Engineering Dept., the computer is presently under free loan, with BYU having option to purchase at a considerable discount. The Bendix Corp. is providing free maintenance, he added.
Unlike the computer in the Knight Bldg., the new machine will be available anytime to students sufficiently instructed in its operation ? without faculty supervision. The young engineers will decide hat they want the machine to do, give it instructions and then sit back and wait for the answer to be typed on a sheet of paper.
FIFTEEN students in the computer programming class plus faculty and graduates will be using the $55,000 computer this semester. However, next year engineering departments plan to teach the use of the computer to all junior engineering students, according to Dr. Simonsen.
He noted that the machine is valuable to faculty members as well as to students. Besides doing mathematical computations it types and addresses form letters. Data is ordinarily recorded on a magnetic drum inside the computer, but it can be recorded on a punched tape and saved for later use.
THE COMPUTER consists of a ?typewriter? plus a large metal case of intricately wired mechanisms. Data is fed to the computer by typing on the keyboard, and answers are typed automatically on a sheet of paper in the typewriter?s carriage.
The new computer will bring added recognition to BYU?s engineering program, Dr. Simonsen said. Good engineering facilities and competence of BYU engineering graduates already have given the department a goood reputation, he noted. Last spring an average of 10 jobs were offered for each BYU student graduating in engineering.
This year there are about 750 engineering students at BYU.