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Early computerIn 1948, IBM dedicated its "SSEC" in New York City. The Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator handled both data and instructions using electronic circuits made with 13,500 vacuum tubes and 21,000 relays. It occupied three sides of a 30-ft x 60-ft room. On the back wall, three punches and thirty readers provided paper-tape storage. Banks of vacuum tube circuits for card reading and sequence control and 36 paper tape readers comprising the table-lookup section occupied the left wall. Most of the right wall was filled by the electronic arithmetic unit and storage. In the center of the room were card readers, card punches, printers, and the operator's console. It was visible to pedestrians on the sidewalk outside.
A sixth grade class is doing some spelling drills. The teacher asks Tommy if he can spell 'before.' He stands up and says, "Before, B-E-P-H-O-R."
The teacher says, "No, that's wrong. Can anyone else spell before?"
Another little boy stands up and says, "Before, B-E-F-O-O-R."
Again the teacher says, "No, that's wrong." The teacher asks, "Little Johnny, can you spell 'before'?"
Little Johnny stands up and says, "Before, B-E-F-O-R-E."
"Excellent Johnny, now can you use it in a sentence?"
Little Johnny says, "That's easy. Two plus two be fore."