Extract from the booklet Elliott 503 FACTS booklet
The 503 is a fast general purpose digital computer designed for scientific applications. The logic elements use high-speed circuits based on high frequency transistors and diodes so that the 503 is completely transitorised and compact. The basic computer consists of a central processor, a power unit and a control station. The 503 incorporates a fully autonomous facility for controlling the transfer of data between its central processor and its peripheral equipment.
The design follows normal practice for single-address machines. One operand is contained in the accumulator and the other in the store location specified by the address given in the instruction. Either operand or the result of an operation is stored in this location after the function has been performed. The current instruction is held in the instruction register to which is connected a decoding system for selecting the function to be performed and the store location required. Facilities are provided for double-length working in multiplication and division.
Dimensions and Weights
Height, width and depth in inches, weight in pounds.
The basic 503 uses eight-track paper tape input and output and has a main storage capacity of 8,192 words. The core store unit is a block of 4,096 words operating at a cycle time of 3.6μsec. The basic machine has two of these units. The arithmetic unit provides for fixed-point and floating point operations.
The following peripheral units may be attached to the 503 in conjunction with the appropriate logic boards. These are available as optional extras:
Core Backing Store
Magnetic Tape Handlers
Elliott Card Reader
Digital Incremental Plotter
High Speed Output Printer
503 is a parallel binary computer, fixed-point number representation being such that numbers are held in the range -1 £ x < +1, with two's complement notation for negative numbers, and standard floating point form x = a.2b such that -1 £ a < -½ or a = 0 or ½ £ a < 1 and -256 £ b < 256. The word length is 39 bits.
The main control panel is an array of 13 buttons and/or lamps. To the left of this array is a 39-key word generator. The usual method of controlling the 503 computer is via the Reserved Area Program, in conjunction with the control typewriter and the message button. The majority of 803 programs can be run on the 503, by means of the '803 Operator' program, provided five-track paper tape equipment is available. A loud-speaker, driven from one of the control signals, is also provided.
Two single-address instructions occupy one word. By means of a single B-line placed between the two instructions, the second instruction may be modified by adding to it the content of the location specified in the address portion of the first, wherever this location may be. As each instruction is obeyed, the count in the sequence control register is increased by a half, unless the instruction causes a transfer of control. Selection of the succeeding instruction follows completion of an operation immediately.
SUMMARY OF MESSAGES TO AND
FROM THE RESERVED AREA
When the RAP is in the store, pressure on the MESSAGE button causes entry to the RAP which then assumes a message will be input via the typewriter.
The messages printed on the output writer, when action from the operator is called for are:-
The messages printed on the output writer to help the operator know the state of the computer are:-
SUMMARY OF ERROR MESSAGES
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