It is not so long ago…
The history of the development of IT could fill books with several hundred pages. A lot has happened in the computer world from John Neumann to Bill Gates. This book describes the short, but ‘quirky’ history of the American computer company Control Data Corporation, CDC. From 1957 to 2005. 
CDC was not even known to experts at first. In the old days, everything that had to do with computers was mostly commented on: “Ah, with those IBM machines.” IBM and CDC were always in a highly fierce feud in the battle for market shares. IBM still exists.
Here is an incomplete list of disappeared IT giants: Remington, Sperry Rand, UNIVAC, Burroughs, Honeywell, DEC, PR1ME, and many more. 
CDC had a relatively short, but all the more exciting and intense lifecycle. The author was like not many others heavily involved as an 'insider' from 1963 to 1981. During a conversation with his son Stephan, who has a degree in computer science, the author was urged to write down his experiences from the 'storm and stress years' of information technology.  
Today, in the year 2023, computers are present everywhere. It is a daily tool used by humanity. And not only in the rich half of the world. But how many of the ‘users’ are aware of how we got here? And how many of the over eight billion human beings had ever heard of the CDC? Of course, CDC is not the only and undoubtedly not the most important of the failing companies.
But one of the most ‘bizarre’ ones


This book derived from the announced interest from readers of the authors’ recently published books ‘The OTHER Computer History’ and ‘Die ANDEREN Computer ‘Geschichten’.
It is an essay to describe and analyze the ‘stormy’ years of the CDC from 1963-2005.
The author’s thesis and conclusion will lead to controversial discussions.
The services from Google, Wikipedia, and PONS were much appreciated. The help from Grammarly was pertinent.
I like to thank Werner Knecht for his contribution. The information obtained from the Facebook Control Data Corporation Private Group was helpful.
Please note that English is not the author’s native language. He is fully aware that the applied writing style is personal. And so are his handling of sentences, forms, and punctuation marks: Very liberal.


1. Prologue.                                                                                                      
2. CDC 1604 and CDC 160-A.                                                                        
3. CDC 3000 Series Mainframes.                                                               
4. CDC 6000 Series Mainframes.                                                               
5. CDC 6603 Disc Drive.                                                                               
6. Tape Drive Stations 606 and 626.                                                          
7. CDC Drum Storage and portable Disc Packs.                                      
8. CDC Employment ‘Methods’.                                                                  
9. Minneapolis. (‘Minnehopeless’)                                                             
10. Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.                                                                 
11. CDC at CERN.                                                                                         
12. The first approach to Computer Networks.                                      
13. The first step toward the interactive use of computers.                
14. The ‘chaotic’ Cyber Series Story.                                                        
15. Why this dispersion of resources?                                                    
16. The ‘Triumphal March’ of the Superminis and PCs.                       
17. The UBISCO debacle.                                                                          
18. The ‘Grounding‘ of a Giant.                                                                
19. Homage to Seymour Cray.                                                                 
20. Homage to William Norris.                                                                
21. Epilogue.                                                                                              
Pictures Index.                                                                                          
The Computer Evaluation in Pictures.                                                  
Appendix: The Author’s activities with CDC.         

Cyber Series Megaflops Rating(as found on the Net)

     Megaflops                                         Software

   32    CDC Cyber 2000V                     F0RTRAN V2

   17    CDC Cyber 205 4-pipe              FTN

   17    CDC Cyber 205 2-pipe              FTN

   12    CDC Cyber 990E                        FTN V2 VL=HIGH 


   9.4   CDC 4680                                   f77 2.11.2 o2

   5.1  DC 4330-300 33 Mhz                f77 2.20 -03

   4.8  CDC Cyber 875                          FN 5 OPT=3

   4.6 CDC Cyber 176                           FTN 5.1 OPT=2
   4.0 CDC Cyber 4360                        f77 2.11.2 o2

   3.7 CDC 4320                                   f77 2.20 opt=02

   3.5 CDC 4330                                   f77 2.20 opt=02

   3.3 CDC 7600                                  FTN

   3.1 CDC Cyber 960-31                   NOS/VE 1.3.1 FTN 1.6

   3.0 CDC Cyber 4340                      f77 2. 11.2 o2

  2.6 CDC Cyber 760                         FTN5 OPT=3

  2.1 CDC Cyber 180-860                 NOS/VE OPT=HIGH

  2.1 CDC Cyber 175                         FTN5 OPT=2

 2.0 CDC 7600                                   Local

 1.8 CDC Cyber 175                         FTN5 OPT=1

 1.6 CDC Cyber 180-850                NOS/VE OPT=HIGH

 1.6 CDC Cyber 170-750                FTN 5.1 opt=3

 1.2 CDC 7600                                CHAT, No opt

 0.99 CDC Cyber 180-840             NOS/VE OPT=HIGH

 0.58 CDC Cyber 930-31               NOS/VE 1.2.2


Review 1

Review from Jeff Murphy Nov. 2022:

The history of the development of IT could fill books of several hundred pages.

Author Hans Bodmer is quite right about that. He has chosen to tell us about the short, but explosive, history of the Control Data Company, CDC, for whom he worked. It’s a fascinating tale, told in a mixture of technological summary and wry anecdote. 

Formed in 1957, CDC was a major player in computing right up until the late 1980s when a series of missteps led it to exit computer manufacturing. The remaining business is now Ceridian. Bodmer went to work for CDC in the 1960s. He had been working for the European computing company Bull, but was bored and unfulfilled. There were some cultural confusions in his interview but to his amazement, he got the job and from there it was off to Minneapolis and more culture shocks; some very funny. And there he was, at the very center of American computer development, working with luminaries such as Seymour Cray and William Norris.
This short book crams in a lot – Bodmer covers CDC’s product development history in detail together with the surrounding social and business forces. We learn about how those big old computers worked, about the development of networking and the move from supercomputers to superminis. And eventually, to the demise of CDC itself, which was partly self-inflicted but also speaks to the failure of the financial markets to suffer temporary setbacks. . But the book isn’t dry or dull, mostly thanks to Bodmer’s own wry attitude to life and work. The whole thing is peppered with fabulous anecdotes and observations. For example, Seymour Cray orders all the champagne in Chippewa Falls when he sells a computer model for $2m. There were only three to be had!
I found the book fascinating. I found out a lot that I did not know. It also made me think about genericization – when a brand or trademark becomes so popular that it becomes a generic term for all products of the same type. Hoover for vacuum cleaner is a good example of this. I’m not a computer specialist and I had never heard of CDC. And yet I had heard of IBM. As Bodmer points out, CDC and IBM were bitter enemies. IBM survived. But even before CDC’s demise, and when Bodmer is still new to America, he meets a girl and tells her that he works in computers. “Ah, with these IBM machines?” she says. Branding is powerful.
The book ends with Bodmer’s reflections on the influence of computing and the internet in our lives today. He suggests that nothing comes without a cost. And he’s quite right about that.  If you’re interested in technology, or how we came to be as dependent on computing as we are, this little book is for you.


Review 2

RE: 'CDC: The Happy Years With A Spectacular IT Phenomena'

Your manuscript was brought to our attention at the latest Editorial Board meeting when we discussed the
potential of its publication confidently state that your submission was found to be a comprehensive introduction to the complex history of the rise and fall of the Control Data Corporation and a confronting, immersive read. The Board was
keen to comment on your ability to fascinate even the less experienced reader on the subject though an
accessible authorial voice and clarity not burdened with superfluous jargon. Your choices of focus allow
deeper analysis on the inception, the successes and failures and ultimate downfall of the company now
somewhat lost to the fast-moving history of computer technology, which currently is less documented or
widely discussed. and understanding. The assured writing style, attention to detail, and clarity of the arguments set out in the
work, make this essay one that will intrigue and fascinate the target audience to be included. Ultimately, 'CDC: The Happy Years With A Spectacular IT Phenomena' is felt to be of ambitious scope, a worthy addition to the genre, and which could have a place in the market

Downtown. Minneapolis. First  Headquarter          CDC Plant Arden Hills.  1962                CDC Downtown Minneapolis

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