Kurzweil doing music composition and statistical analysis on the heavily criticized IBM 1620

Addendum to the post I wrote earlier on Kurzweil and Dijkstra, see Singularity Is Near, so could humour be (Kurzweil meets Dijkstra), and the review from Dijkstra of the IBM 1620.

I hit this passage in Singularity Is Near where Ray Kurzweil tells about his history with computing. He used the 1620 for his experiments, the 1620 that Dijkstra so heavily criticised.

During the 1960s, I was as absorbed in the contemporary musical, cultural, and political movements as my peers, but I became equally engaged in a much more obscure trend: namely, the remarkable sequence of machines that IBM proffered during that decade, from their big “7000” series (7070, 7074, 7090, 7094) to their small 1620, effectively the first “minicomputer.” The machines were introduced at yearly intervals, and each one was less expensive and more powerful than the last, a phenomenon familiar today. I got access to an IBM 1620 and began to write programs for statistical analysis and subsequently for music composition.

Apparently Kurzweil did find some useful application for it, and he managed to avoid the flaws in the 1620’s design.

Nice circle.

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