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  • The UNIVAC 1050 was a variable wordlength decimal and binary computer. Instructions were fixed length, consisting of a 5 bit "op code", a 3 bit index register specifier, one reserved bit, a 15 bit address, and a 6 bit "detail field" whose function varies with each instruction. The memory was up to 32K of 6-bit characters. Like the IBM 1401, the 1050 was commonly used as an off-line peripheral controller in many installations of both large "Scientific Computer"s and large "Business Computer"s. In these installations the big computer did all of its input-output on magnetic tapes and the 1050 was used to format input data from other peripherals on the tapes and transfer output data from the tapes to other peripherals. A version used by the U.S. Air Force, the U1050-II real-time system, had some extra peripherals. The most significant of these was the FASTRAND 1 Drum Storage Unit. This physically large device had 2 contra-rotating drums mounted horizontally, one above the other in a pressurised cabinet. Read-write heads were mounted on a horizontally moving beam between the drums, driven by a voice coil servo external to the pressurised cabinet. This high speed access subsystem allowed the real-time operation. Another feature was the communications subsystem with modem links to remote sites. A Uniservo VI-C tape drive provided an audit trail for the transactions. Other Peripherals were the card reader and punch, and printer. The operator's console had the 'stop and go' buttons and a Teletype Model 33 teleprinter for communication and control. Wikipedia