Letter From T.H. Morrin at SRI to Oldfield at GE- 1556
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DIRECTOR OF ENGINEERING RESEARCH                           February 2, 1956

Mr. H. R. Oldfield, Jr.
Manager, Industrial Computer Division General Electric Company
c/o GE Microwave Laboratory Stanford, California

Dear Mr. Oldfield:

I am answering your February 2 letter relative to assistance which may be provided by the Stanford Research Institute to the General Electric Company in the event you should succeed in obtaining the ERMA program.

You requested that I supply you with a brief listing of the various ERMA projects which we may desire to continue in support of ERMA-IA, the expected duration and cost of these projects and the magnitude and character of the continuing efforts which we might carryon in support of an ERMA-II program. I will answer the ERMA-IA matters in this letter and ERMA-II by separate correspondence.

You stated that our estimates should assume that you will establish a group of ten to twelve engineers and two to three lead draftsmen in SRI quarters shortly after consummation of any agreement with the Bank of America. You state that at least four of these will be computer engineers who will be able to proceed immediately with ERMA-IA design, two or three will work on paper handling, and another four or so will be experienced electronic engineers  who would work initially on ERMA-I to continue later on the detailed electronic design problems of ERMA-IA. You point out that in general you will need the most help on problems involving computer logic and paper handling and proportionately less help on the detailed electronic design phases.


H. R. Oldfield from T. H. Morrin                                                              February 2, 1956


Considering the number of your engineers which you would expect to place at SRI in the three categories of competence working together with the engineering staff which we expect to have available for this program, the first production unit of ERMA (that which we are designating as ERMA-IA) should incorporate the various changes from ERMA-I which we have already outlined, together with other reasonable design changes to reduce the production cost of the equipment, and to provide automatic input, a sorter, and a collator. Consideration should also be given to substantial use of transistors in lieu'' of tubes in the first production unit of ERMA-IA. We can broadly divide this effort into two categories, (A) the electronic data processing and (B) the paper handling and character reading.

In the electronic data processing portion of the program the Institute I s staff could most profitably be engaged as follows:

1. Indoctrination of General Electric Company engineering personnel in the details of the ERMA system

2. Determination of the gross changes in logic to proceed from ERMA-I to ERMA-IA

3.Examination of the details of the logic changes together with the performance of detailed logical design as found necessary with the assistance of General Electric Company engineers

4.Assistance in the transfer of mechanical, electronic and other information contained on drawings, charts, tabulations of data, etc., to the form desired by the General Electric Company and indoctrination of General Electric production design personnel in the details of existing paperwork

5. Assistance to General Electric engineers in a critical examination of the feasibility and effort necessary to change to a transistorized system in proceeding from ERMA-I to ERMA-IA.


H. R. Oldfield from T. H. Morrin                                                                February 2, 1956

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Item 1 will be accomplished in the course of performing the work on all of the above stated items. However, I would envision that the first month or two of the program would be devoted largely to and directed in such a way as to facilitate a rapid accumulation of knowledge and background of the system by the General Electric personnel. As you know, item 2 above has been underway for sometime, and the amount of effort being put on this phase of the work is presently increasing and is expected to continue to increase throughout the next six months. I would expect that the required operating level would be reached by mid-summer to make it possible to complete the detailed logical design by early 1957. Item 3 is expected to commence as soon as personnel are available.

I would visualize that most of these items of work would "dovetail" together quite nicely and result in a homogenous group of SRI-GE personnel and that as the year goes on you would be transferring more and more personnel for your production engineering and so forth to a location which we could provide.

Work relating to the paper handling and character reading aspects of this program should be directed in a manner so as to achieve automatic input and sorting and collating for all ERMA-IA production units. As I explained yesterday, the level of work on the paper handling and character reading is not at the level which would be necessary to complete the desired objectives for ERMA-IA; however, we do have the capacity to increase the present level at such time as is appropriate, although as I mentioned to you the capacity available at the Institute is not such as to be able to accomplish both automatic input for the first production units of ERMA-IA and a collator. However, with two or three senior level mechanical engineers from General Electric joining in this program I feel that the resulting capacity would make possible the accomplishment of both.

I have not attempted to determine a cost estimate for each of the items in the categories A and B but have simply determined a total cost estimate for each category A and B. Also, at this


MISSING PAGE 4, Perhaps someone else has a copy of this letter  - Please help us complete this! Email us: info@smecc.org


H. R. Oldfield from T. H. Morrin                                                                February 2, 1956

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This letter constitutes only an informal proposal to assist you in making a proposal to the Bank of America. If you should succeed in obtaining the program from the Bank, I would then make a formal proposal based on a more thorough discussion with you and your staff.

Very truly yours,

T. H. Morrin


(Dictated by Mr. Morrin and signed in his absence. )



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