George Stibitz Distant Computer Work

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The Relay Computers and the life of George Stibitz had already been examined in other sections of this site. Here we will pay attention only to his pioneering work in the field of remote access to a computer.

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In the end of 1937, George Stibitz, then working at Bell Labs as a research mathematician, started to develop his first relay-based calculator. The calculating unit (processor) has 4 registers and is completely separated from the input/output unit, which is a special terminal

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The computer itself was kept in an out-of-the-way room in the labs, where few ever saw it. The operators accessed it remotely, using one of three modified teletype machines, which consisted of a keyboard and a printing device, connected to processor by a multiple-wire buss and placed elsewhere, which however cannot work simultaneously.

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Stibitz developed further the idea of remote, multiple access to a computer. Stibitz arranged to have the computer connected by telephone lines (using 28-wire teletype cable) to a teletype unit. It was the first computing machine ever used remotely over a phone line.

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