"We [science fiction writers] always wanted to believe in "private sector" space -- hucksters make better characters than a government does."
This is the first mention of a computer software drafting program, like AutoCAD and the many other drafting packages available today.
This novel was published in 1956, which I believe was before the use of computers in drafting. In the mid-1950's the US Air Force developed SAGE (Semi Automatic Ground Environment) for air defense; it provided one key component; a cathode ray tube to show computer-processed information (in this case, radar and other data). The first true CAD (Computer Aided Design) systems emerged in the 1960's; the first was The Electronic Drafting Machine, which used PDP-1 computer from DEC (Digital Equipment Corp., a vector-refresh display and a disk memory device used to refresh the graphic display. An electronic light pen was used to input commands.
I spent some time working with PDGS (Product Design Graphics System), Ford Motor Company's home-grown CAD program. PDGS started with a few FORTRAN programs to calculate specific parameters for subsystems (like suspension designs); by the 1990's it had grown to a full-fledged system with (reputedly) 10,000 sub-menus full of features.
(Special thanks to Bill Mullins for pointing this one out.)
I spent some time working with PDGS (Product Design Graphics System), Ford Motor Company's home-grown CAD program. PDGS started with a few FORTRAN programs to calculate specific parameters for subsystems (like suspension designs); by the 1990's it had grown to a full-fledged system with (reputedly) 10,000 sub-menus full of features. (Special thanks to Bill Mullins for pointing this one out.)
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