Chapter 8 The UNIVAC system 169
read. By means of some rather simple manipulations, the operator can then reread the block without losing his place in the routine; and if the information is then read correctly, he may again start the computer on the routine. The same procedure may be followed if an odd-even error is made in reading from the tape.
Many checks other than those mentioned before have been built into the UNIVAC. On the basis of operating experience, the engineers cannot recommend too strongly the use of built-in checking facilities. All in all, the faith that can be put into results obtained from an unchecked computer comparable in size to UNIVAC is in the writers' opinion exceedingly low.
More than this, however, the methods by which the UNIVAC is checked have been of extreme usefulness in trouble shooting. The duplication of circuits has amply repaid the increase of space and the number of components required by this checking system.
After evaluating UNIVAC performance over a period of eight months, the over-all picture of the UNIVAC design, in the minds of its designers, is extremely good. Certain phases of its design exceeded expectations, while of course, other phases were somewhat disappointing. The first eight months of actual operation have taught more than years of experimentation with laboratory models. Many improvements have already been conceived of this experience and are continuing daily to increase reliability.
The other major factor influencing computer design, cost, has been duly considered in the UNIVAC design; and it is being met with plans for a continuing full-scale production of UNIVAC systems. As the production techniques are developed concurrently with the engineering design details, the UNIVAC becomes the realization of a hope which has long been in the minds of its designers: An economical, completely reliable commercial computer for performing the routine mental work of the world much as automatic machinery has taken over the routine mechanical work of the manufacturer.