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History and Background
1960's to 1970's

The following 4 pictures show the LINC computer in Room 81 Med Sci Bldg, UW-Madison, and associated hardware for collecting auditory single-unit data. This was one of the original 12 LINCs built in 1963, and was brought to Wisconsin by Drs. J.E.Hind and C.D.Geisler. Hind and Geisler spent the month of July, 1963 at MIT actually assembling the LINC and learning to program and service it. The machine was the original "minicomputer" and its small size allowed it to be placed in a lab, where it could be used and programmed by researchers (earlier computers were large and expensive and had to be housed in special rooms far from the lab).The arrival of the LINC marked the start of a new era of using digital computers in Biomedical Research, and the machine was used by the Auditory Group at Wisconsin (and many visitors) between 1964 and 1977 to collect much pioneering data in the field of Auditory Neuroscience. A second LINC was installed in the laboratory of Dr. J.F.Brugge at the UW-Madison Waisman Center, and was used for data collection until about 1988. In 1977 the LINC was replaced by the Datacraft (Harris) 6024/5 minicomputer.

Room 81

Console TTY

Mike Clark changes Tape

A later view

LINC facts:

  • LINC = Laboratory INstrument Computer.
  • Original developers: W. Clark and C. Molnar.
  • Year: 1963
  • Technology: 2nd generation (transistors)
  • Clock cycle: 8 microsecs.
  • Arithmetic: 1's complement
  • Operating system: LAP
  • Language: Assembler
  • Memory (RAM): 1024 words (with option for 2048)
    (the second 1024 words were usable for data only, programs had to fit in the lower 1024).
  • Word size: 12 bits
  • Storage: LINC tapes (no hard drive) (capacity: approx. 128,000 words per tape).
  • User Interface: Modified Oscilloscope with high-persistence phosphor.
  • Speed: 100 times slower than the original IBM PC (1982)
    10,000,000 slower than a 3 GHz Pentium-IV (2004)
    (approx. speeds for floating point arithmetic)

The following 7 pictures show the original DEC brochure advertising the LINC, dated April or May 1965. The seventh picture is the original price list. Higher resolution scans are available.

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Page 1
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Page 2
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Page 3
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Page 4
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Page 5
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Page 6
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Price List
More information about the LINC (click here)
Datacraft 6024/5
1975 to 1988
Click to enlarge
Datacraft console
1980 to 1984
Information to be added soon.
DEC VAX 11/750
1984 to 1994

VAX 11/750
DEC Vaxstations
1986 to 2004
Information to be added soon.
Computer Room
Feb, 2000




Some visitors
Computer Room
Dec. 2007


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Last modified: 12/12/2007
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