Oral history interview with Richard A. Zemlin

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Oral history interview with Richard A. Zemlin

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Charles Babbage Institute


Oral History


Zemlin worked for several computer firms before joining Control Data (CDC) to develop software for the CDC 1604. He discusses the establishment of a software group and the simultaneous development of a service bureau in the San Francisco Bay area. He mentions the software group under Seymour Cray that developed the FORTRAN compiler for the 1604 and the group built up by Richard Gunderson. Software development at CDC was originally under the direction of George Hanson. Later Frank Mullaney oversaw software development before Clair Miller was hired to head software development specifically. Zemlin points out that early software was conceived of as applications. Zemlin considers CDC's attempts to limit their support to system software and compares the policies of CDC with those of International Business Machines. He discusses training a force of outside analysts that was developed to provide support for specific customers and subsequently became part of the marketing organization. Zemlin discusses a number of specific projects, including the development of the ALGOL compiler at Oak Ridge. He also discusses the development of two forms of documentation for CDC software: external specifications, and internal maintenance specifications.


Transcript, 28 pp.

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Richard A. Zemlin, OH 152. Oral history interview by Bruce Bruemmer, 16 May 1988, Bloomington, Minnesota. Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. http://purl.umn.edu/107727

Suggested citation

Zemlin, Richard A.. (1988). Oral history interview with Richard A. Zemlin. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy, https://hdl.handle.net/11299/107727.

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