OPINION

May 19, 1957

IBM 704 IN FRANCE: Paris, 17 – The largest and most efficient electronic brain in Europe has been launched in Paris by the International Business Machines (IBM) company that constructed it. The computer, the IBM 704 as it is called, may not be as powerful as the largest computers in the US, but is certainly superior to its closest European rival, which is being used to build the hydrogen bomb at Great Britain’s atomic energy plant at Aldermaston. The IBM 704 cost about 500,000 pounds and weighs 21 tons. It was built by mostly French technicians, partly in France and partly in the US. The IBM 704 is based on the principles of the computing machine invented by Pascal in 1642, to help his father collect and calculate taxes under Louis XIII and Louis XIV. It can execute 42,000 calculations per second. On the roof of the building where it is housed is a reservoir holding 10 tons of water to prevent the machine overheating during operation. IBM intends to rent the computer to any European agency that wants to use it – including government services, international organizations, industries and businesses.