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Definition: Control Data

(Control Data Systems, Inc., Arden Hills, MN, www.btglobalservices.com) Control Data Corporation (CDC) was one of the first computer companies. Founded in 1957, Bill Norris was its president and guiding force. Its first computer, the 1604, was introduced in 1957 and delivered to the U.S. Navy Bureau of Ships.

For more than 30 years, the company was widely respected for its high-speed computers used heavily in government and scientific installations. Using the CYBER trade name, Control Data produced a complete line from workstations to mainframes. It also manufactured supercomputers.

In 1992, it spun off its military involvement into an independent company called Ceridian Corporation, and Control Data Corporation became Control Data Systems. Soon after, it ceased R&D of its proprietary computers. While providing maintenance for its installed base, it specialized in systems integration of Unix-based computers from HP, Sun and SGI, which includes custom software, consulting services and facilities management. In 1999, Control Data Systems was acquired by and fully integrated into British Telecom's Syntegra subsidiary. The Syntegra name was dropped in 2005 when BT streamlined its branding and came up with BT Global Services.

William C. Norris
Norris founded and headed one of the most advanced computer companies in the industry. (Image courtesy of Control Data Corporation.)

The 7600
Control Data's 7600 was open in the middle, and its sides were like walls. You could walk into it from the rear, which is visible in this picture. (Image courtesy of Control Data Corporation.)