Tools for the mind: Tektronix 4052 microcomputer graphic workstation (circa 1982)
I loved the Tektronix personal computer. It cost my employer about three times my annual salary whilst I completed my doctor of philosophy in operations research at DSIR.
I programmed the microcomputer to produce graphic outputs displaying the optimal milk allocation from clusters of dairy farms to factories. The programming language was a highly-featured variant of BASIC.
The optimal solution was calculated using an out-of-kilter network optimisation algorithm (Ford-Fulkerson) on an IBM 370-168 computer. The IBM - in Wellington - was coupled to the microcomputer - in Hamilton - by a 2400 baud fixed line. Initially, we used a 300 baud acoustic coupler! That’s 30 characters per second, folks!
The Tektronix system was purpose-selected to quickly download coded data from the IBM mainframe, and produce the graphic outputs using purpose-written graphical programs. The digital plotter produced a colour hardcopy. No colour VDUs around in these days!
Mellalieu, P. J. (1982). A Decision Support System for Corporate Planning in the New Zealand Dairy Industry (Doctor of Philosophy in mathematics, statistics and operations research). Victoria University of Wellington. Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/10063/568
Mellalieu, P. J., & Hall, K. R. (1983). An Interactive Planning Model for the New Zealand Dairy Industry. Journal of the Operational Research Society, 34, 521-532. doi:10.1057/jors.1983.119