Computer history: Graphical, ECAE and MCAD services (1989 – 1994)


Graphical, ECAE and MCAD systems

Graphical systems

In 1989, UNIRAS graphic software was installed on the Convex, the VAX 6310, and SUN to support the research of the Observation Systems division. The UNIRAS packages comprised Unimap, Unigraph, and the FGL and AGL libraries. In the nineties, the workstations gradually became so powerful that the need for special graphics hardware and software facilities declined. In 1992, the SUN3/GX4000 configuration was removed as a central service. The system was transferred to the IT division to complete the current projects. Temporarily, a Silicon Graphics 240/VGX was installed in the open access area of the computer room. In practice, the system was used by the group ‘parallel systems’ for a hundred per cent of the time.
In 1994 the divestment of the I2S configuration followed.

ECAE and MCAD systems

In 1990, the Electronic Computer Aided Engineering (ECAE) supplier DAZIX, which had previously taken over CADNETIX, quickly went downhill. At the end of 1990, DAZIX was bought by Intergraph. Operations continued under the name Dazix Intergraph until the company merged with Intergraph Computer Systems in May 1994. As a result of this uncertain period, all TNO-FEL plans for upgrading existing ECAE systems were frozen. In October 1991, the platform upgrade of the old CADNETIX systems to SUN workstations started. For the renewal of the facilities we ordered: four SUN Sparcstations LPC and four IPCs, 1.7 GByte of disk space, a 150 MB tape unit, and a CDROM pack. Much time was spent coupling the Gerber printed circuit board drilling machine and the photoplotter to the ECAE configuration.

In 1989, the TNO construction and manufacturing group (part of division 5) ordered a Hewlett-Packard mechanical computer-aided design (MCAD) configuration comprising a server, two workstations and an A1-size plotter. The ME10/ME30 MCAD package ran on an HP/UX Unix system. A fourth MCAD station, an HP 9000-400T, was installed in February 1991.