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[PDF](+30👁️) Télécharger PDP-4 Computer Application Note: Keydata On-Line Facility Handles Business Applications: pdf
PDP-4 Computer Application Note: Keydata On-Line Facility Handles Business ApplicationsTélécharger gratuit PDP-4 Computer Application Note: Keydata On-Line Facility Handles Business Applications: pdf
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KEYDATA ON LINE FACILITY
DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION . MAYNARD, MASSACHUSETTS
A U.S. District Court decision establishing a fund to
settle a stockholders’ suit created an unprecedented
problem: How do you log and acknowledge correspon-
dence, verify eligibility, determine losses, and compute
compensations from a $5,300,000 fund with from
50.000 to 100,000 claims expected?
One approach would be to establish an organization
staffed by attorneys to process all the applications,
since a major demand is that each document in each
claim must satisfy detailed legal specifications. The
complexity of the problem ruled out the possibility of
clerks performing the evaluation under the supervision
of an attorney. Instead, the solution devised by Keydata
Corporation of Boston was selected.
Keydata's approach was to use an on-line data acquisi-
tion and processing facility based on Digital’s general-
purpose Programmed Data Processor-4 computer, a
Data Communication System and seven Keydata Tele-
printer input-output stations, and an extensive Micro
Tape subsystem. Following procedures approved by the
court, the Keydata system performs the sorting, search-
ing, recording, acknowledging, and evaluation functions
necessary to insure that each claim satisfies the many
rules defining eligibility. The system is designed to
insure strict adherence to the court-approved settlement
plan and to minimize human intervention and errors.
The storage consideration was critical, since more than
75.000 transactions are involved.
And since Keydata designed the system and its software
for general-purpose use, it will be able to perform sev-
eral different types of business and scientific data
Keydata is a division of Charles W. Adams Associates
Incorporated of Bedford, Mass., electronic data process-
ing consultants. Keydata was named an assistant spe-
cial master by the court when the fund was established
to pay claims of investors in a firm whose stock price
Administration of the fund is a three-step process:
1. logging, acknowledging, and accounting for ap-
plications sent in by stockholders and former
2. examining each claim in detail, verifying it ac-
cording to thorough procedures established by
the court-appointed master
3. computation of individual losses, determination
of awards, court approval, and distribution
In phase one, operators at the seven on-line Keydata
stations logged each claim by typing in the claimant
identification and information. The system responded
by accounting for control and filing numbers that had
been assigned to each claim. In addition, standard
format, field, and consistency checking was done in
real time, thereby providing dynamic control of the
acquired data. Each day, after all new claims had been
logged and stored on tape, the computer:
1. Searched prior tapes for previous claimant in-
2. Typed a- letter to each new claimant acknowledg-
ing his application
3. Provided statistical analyses of claimant infor-
mation for review by the court
4. Sorted all names and addresses into alphabetical
order for a compilation of all claimant
5. Printed an alphabetical index to the chronologi-
cally filed claim folders.
This operation continued five and a half months.
The second phase, processing and evaluating in detail
each transaction to insure that it conforms to the
court-approved specifications, is expected to be com-
pleted after some seven months of work. In this step,
an operator at a Keydata station calls up a transaction
from Micro Tape by its file number for an extensive
testing of its form and content. When the project began,
37 rules were established to determine the eligibility
of the claim. Midway through step 2, the number had
reached 150, as a better understanding of the problems
was achieved. Keydata officials expect the ultimate
number of rules governing eligibility to approach 200.
To help the Keydata operators perform this function, a
30-question check list based on the eligibility rules was
developed. Clerks compare the filed records constituting
the claim record against the check list, then post the
results on Micro Tape. The computer later evaluates
each claim on the basis of the check list, rejects those
which fall beyond the gross limits, and indicates what
amendments are required to those which are not com-
pletely correct in form but are still apparently eligible.
Again, the computer types out, after evaluation opera-
tions are completed for the day, the necessary letters to
tell each claimant that his eligibility has been estab-
lished, that he must file additional specified informa-
tion, or that his claim has been rejected.
Some of the questions on the check list are given
1. ... is the name (of the applicant) the same . . ?
la. (to be answered if the answer to 1. was NO)
Was the change made to correct spelling only?
lb. (to be answered by a special reviewer if the
answer to la. was NO) What rule covers the
name change in this case?
2. Does the name on the application compare with
the name on each supporting document?
2a. (to be answered if the answer to 2. was NO) Has
every person whose name appears as an appli-
cant on the form and every person whose name
appears on a supporting document signed the
application on the back of the form?
3. Is there a legible purchase confirmation with the
3a. (to be answered if the answer to 3. was NO) Is
there a legible broker’s statement supporting
the purchase in that it shows date of purchase
and purchase price?
3b. (to be answered by the special reviewer if the*
answer to 3a. was NO) What rule covers the lack
of a purchase confirmation?
Other questions cover ownership, whether individual or
corporate, disposition, securities dealer involved in the
disposition, date of transaction, the presence of signa-
tures and oath, the legibility of the information in the
notary public's stamp, ,and the presence of a notary's
seal on the application.
The final step in the process will begin after all informa-
tion has been gathered and verified. Its aim will be to
determine the exact amount to be paid to each claimant
based on his approved, recognized loss. This operation,
including the complex calculation required to allocate
the $5,300,000 in the fund equitably among those
eligible, will also be carried out by the system. After the
court approves the proposed settlement, those eligible
will be told, in letters typed by the system, what their
awards will be, and the ineligible applicants will be
notified that their claims have been disallowed. An
appeal period will be set aside before actual disburse-
ment begins. As the final operation, the Keydata system
will make out the settlement checks on the 300 lines-
Basic to the Keydata concept is the on-line data input-
output stations, where Teleprinter keyboards feed data
directly into the computer. Other approaches, such as
punching the data from the applications and supporting
documents on cards or paper tape for later input, would
have resulted in far more error. Keydata determined,
for example, that data input error percentages run as
high as 10 per cent for card systems.
The continuous format checking permitted by the on-
line system held unverified input errors initially to less
Keydata's on-line teleprinter input-output stations feed data
directly into the PDP-4 computer, reducing input errors
through continuous format checking and eliminating the
delays associated with card input systems. TWX facilities
are also available for remote input and output.
than 1 per cent. Further refinements in format testing
indicated a possible further reduction to less than
V 2 of 1 per cent.
A further disadvantage of the off-line input approach
is the time delay between preparing and testing inputs.
With a card system, cards might be prepared one day,
verified the second, and fed into the computer for
format checking on the third. By the time format
errors were detected, the documents needed to correct
faulty cards would have been filed away, leading to time
lost in retrieval. With the Keydata system, however, the
computer checks the input data continuously and noti-
fies the operator immediately when an error has been
made. The data needed is still at hand, and the erro-
neous entry is corrected without delay.
Other uses being considered for the Keydata system
are in business data processing and information stor-
age and retrieval. The business application includes
scheduling, ordering and billing, inventory control, cus-
tomer account status and credit aging reports, and
payroll preparation for from 32 to 48 clients. Users
will send data to the system and get their results back
on private lines at their facilities. This represents a
significant departure from normal batch processing
In addition to the leased lines, TWX facilities would be
available. This service would permit users anywhere
in the country to dial the Keydata computer number,
TWX in their data, and get their results back on TWX.
A user could insert the proper forms in his machine,
whether blank checks, inventory or scheduling reports,
or ordering sheets, and have the system print them
right in his office. Control information in the system
would not permit him to use services to which he had
not subscribed, and other safeguards. would keep his
records unavailable to other users. The only equipment
he would need would be the TWX machine, which he
could continue to use for other purposes when he
wasn’t calling for computer service.
Shown at the operator’s console of the Keydata PDP-4 are
Charles W. Adams, seated, president of Charles W. Adams
Associates Inc., Keydata’s parent firm, and Harlan E.
Anderson, Digital vice president.
CONTROLS AND TRANSPORTS
In a recent feasibility demonstration, the system per-
formed a data collection and processing function for
automating retrieval from a file of coded information
of part of one million reports covering the results of
15 million experiments in food preparation, packaging,
and storage. The laboratory had considered going to
punched cards, but Keydata was able to demonstrate
a 50 to 75 per cent reduction in the cost of data prepa-
ration with the on-line system.
Again, the system demonstrated a significant reduction
in the number of errors that would occur in punching
the data onto cards. The storage problem with a card
input system would also be critical, since each of the
million reports to be filed might require as many as
100 cards, two for the report itself and four for each of
up to 25 experiments covered by the report.
Digital's Micro Tape gives the Keydata system unusual
convenience, reliability, and flexibility. It offers the
programmer or operator a fast input-output device
which eliminates the normal delays associated with
paper tape and punched cards. Significant features of
its design are redundant data tracks, phase — rather
than amplitude — recording, and a permanent timing
track. Micro Tape's advantages also include economy:
the six dual transports and two controls in the Keydata
system cost less than two conventional magnetic tape
transports and a control.
A principal benefit for Keydata in using Micro Tape is
that it gives the installation the data storage unit most
appropriate to the size of the “pieces" of data being
handled. One Keydata input station, for example, can
work all day on a single tape reel without filling it,
permitting a semipermanent allocation of tape drive to
in/out station. Intermittent users can call for their own
reels and be on line in from 15 to 30 seconds on the
The 12 individual transports give the system a many-bin
capability to perform the sophisticated sorting opera-
tions required by the fund settlement project. This
capability telescopes the steps that would be required
for the same results in a two- or three-transport con-
ventional tape installation. Contributing to the installa-
tion’s sorting capability is its short search time, virtually
a “quasi-random" access. Short search times result
from the small (4-inch) reel, bidirectional reading and
writing, and the ability to rewrite a section of a word
in the middle of a block without having to rewrite the
whole block to make the change.
Programmed Data Processor-4, heart of the Keydata
system, was developed for use as a complete computer
or as the control element in information processing
systems. It is a single-address, binary computer operat-
ing in parallel on 18-bit words with l's or 2’s comple-
ment arithmetic. Core memory, with a cycle time of 8
microseconds, can range from 1024 to 32,768 words.
The computation rate is 62,500 additions a section. A
powerful input-output interface was a primary goal in
its design, resulting in a real-time control feature that
enables the machine to operate efficiently at data rates
varying from one word in several seconds to 125,000
words in one second. PDP-4 can work with many
types of input-output equipment simultaneously, and it
offers a versatile array of programming aids, including
FORTRAN II, Symbolic Assembly and Debugging Sys-
tem, and utility and maintenance routines.
DIGITAL EQUIPMENT CORPORATION • MAYNARD, MASSACHUSETTS
PRINTED IN U.S.A.
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