THE CORE MEMORY FORUM

NCR Computers of the 20th Century => Mainframes => Topic started by: zster on September 16, 2006, 10:11:55 am



Title: Neat/3
Post by: zster on September 16, 2006, 10:11:55 am
Share some thoughts on Neat/3.   


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: Flightplannerjim on September 16, 2006, 10:29:04 pm
Zster:
Wish I could give you some thoughts but when I worked for NCR, I wanted to move from 390 programmer to 315 programmer.
At the time I was responsible for about 7-8 390 installations and the NCR manager finally allowed me to go to an in-house 315 programming class.
After the 2nd or 3rd day of class, the manager decided they needed me back in the field on the 390s and that was the end of my advancement there.
Needless to say, that started my move to "greener pastures".
Worked out greatly.

However, from what I remember Neat and Neat3 were very similar to IBMs Assembler in that they used base and displacement registers for addressing.

Where were you working on the 315s?

Jim


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: rayden61 on October 03, 2006, 05:28:52 pm
Don't know if it was Neat/3 but we referred to it as NEATVS when I worked on the NCR V-8500 and the V-8900. Worked extensively in computer operations and did loads of application programming. Can still see those JCL lines of codes and the piles of job details we had to go through...

Those were the days...lol

Martin


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: NEXUS on October 03, 2006, 06:18:15 pm
Don't know if it was Neat/3 but we referred to it as NEATVS when I worked on the NCR V-8500 and the V-8900. Worked extensively in computer operations and did loads of application programming. Can still see those JCL lines of codes and the piles of job details we had to go through...

Those were the days...lol

Martin


NEAT/3 was an Assembly language used in NCR-315 systems.
NEATVS  came later with the Criterion Series (NCR-8500) in 1970s.

Regards.



Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: rayden61 on October 04, 2006, 08:45:52 pm
Don't know if it was Neat/3 but we referred to it as NEATVS when I worked on the NCR V-8500 and the V-8900. Worked extensively in computer operations and did loads of application programming. Can still see those JCL lines of codes and the piles of job details we had to go through...

Those were the days...lol

Martin


NEAT/3 was an Assembly language used in NCR-315 systems.
NEATVS  came later with the Criterion Series (NCR-8500) in 1970s.

Regards.




Hey Nexus, thanks for the correction. I worked as a computer operator on the NCR V-8500 and 8900 series. Worked all the way up to application programmer/analyst before they shut the datacenter down to move to windows based systems and networks.

Martin


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse on November 01, 2006, 03:53:50 pm
Hi, All!
I'm now logging on this thread 'NEAT/3', from Yokohama, Japan.
I appreciate dear zster's initiation.
Because I could notice the original idea of the term 'NEAT/3'.
N  : NCR's
E  : Electronic
A  : Autocoding
T  : Technique
/3 : the third generation for Century computer.

Incidentally, the first generation of NEAT is for NCR304.
The second generation is for NCR315.

Well, we have NEAT/14 in Japan.
We were the fresh 14 persons and children as the Century NEAT/3 programmer
of NCR Japan Tokyo head office in 1969.
We were like sponge of the computer knowledge and
we do not know the limitation of our knowledge.
It's so soon for us to become wel-trained person to manipulate our lovely computer.
Tomorrow, we are going to meet together at the old cottage ever owned by NCR Japan,
even though these children are the retired uncles all now.
I would like to confirm that we got so valuable thought and mind through our job in NCR.

I will report our performance of meeting soon.

Best regards,
Katsuhiko


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: Flightplannerjim on November 02, 2006, 06:10:59 pm
Maybe I'm way off on this, but I seem to remember NEAT3 being developed and used initially for the 315, 100 Series, which was the economy model of the 315.

Kind of like the IBM Series 50, which was the IBM accounting machine that ran at 1/2 speed of it's predecessor, for 1/2 the cost. All because of the size of the pulleys used in it. When the customers learned this, they replaced the pulleys on their own and had a full speed machine at 1/2 the cost.

In the Philadelphia NCR office, we refered to it as the "Thrifty Fifty".


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse on November 03, 2006, 01:36:09 pm
Related to NEAT/14 member's meeting in the cottage, hot-spring and viewing Mt. Fuji:

The second meeting of NEAT/14 old boys was held at the cottage in Izu-Hakone near the Oiso factory of NCR Japan at Nov. 2-3.
We could confirm our faces one another at the Odawara railway station,
and we did thank god for our good health in this decade since last dinner party of 1996.
Our first stage approach was to study the Odawara castle and the history of Samurai era lifes, costumes and swords.
We found the mini-sized calculator 'Soro-ban' of five-unit bead built-in small box with a brush to write numbers, looked like a palm-top PC.
The second stage was to take bath-time in hot-spring of the cottage with good effects to old boys 'ever-programmer'.
The third stage was to celebrate the attendance of NEAT/14 old boys at the dinner party
with Hawaiian electric guitar sound by old boy player who manipulated iron wires and foot pedals.
We introduced a personal short history of NCR days, recent business experience and voluntary activity.
WE could understand our challenge in a life.

We enjoyed the event completely and made sure a plan of next event of Kyushu in November, 2011.
We are appreciated of NCR's bands.

Best regards,
Katsuhiko


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: JUICE on January 12, 2007, 11:06:55 pm
HI. my first programming job was with ncr neat/3 and cobol in 78 in ct. i forget the ncr model but i think it only had 5 partitions. we had neat/3 level 1 and 2 and something called translated neat/3 which i believe was code created by a neat to neat/3 translator. i couldnt follow the translated stuff if my life depended on it.  anybody remember olpd?


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse on January 14, 2007, 04:09:48 am
Hi! JUICE,
Good morning from Japan.
I was a programmer of the NCR Century computer that  was a former generation of the Criterion computer series.
I have an old sales manual of the OLPD methodology on the VRX operating system for the Criterion computer.
The maqnual introduces the capability of 8 user entries with CRT, printer and tty-teletype.
The OLPD for programmer had provided ten commands for the system controls and six commands for the file controls.
The system commands were confiured by ON, UNITS, SPACE, TIME, VIEW, MAKE, ACCOUNT, PASSWORD, OPERATOR and FINISH.
The file commands were CREATE, EDIT, LIST, DELETE, RECOVER and EXECUTE.

Unfortunately, I have no experience to try it, because I left NCR before coming the VRX generation.
What is your feeling from the OLPD?

Best regards,
Katsuhiko


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse on March 15, 2007, 01:48:24 pm
Hi! all,
I just came back here.
Today in the micro-processor based software, I found the technology of passive multi-tasking.
If my understanding is correct, the original idea had been born and implemented successfully, in 1975, by Mr. Hiromichi Ishikawa who was one of leader in the NCR real-time kernel development for the Sumitomo Bank. And secondly Dr. Paul Hilfinger, UC Berkeley, introduced the passive tasking on the ADA technique for the multi-tasking in 1982.
These idea had come from the propose to eliminate the low-productivity in the task-dispatching in order to provide the computing power for the application processing.
Nowadays the more hard real-time processing would be must in the embedded software computing like the safety controlling of the car driving.
However my concern is that the core technology of the computer hardware and software is originated even now to the idea of several decade ago.
We have to kick the ball to make new ideas as soon as possible and play the game to produce the friendly computing for this globe.

Best regards,
Katsuhiko


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: dlreedy on March 21, 2007, 04:24:31 pm
Hello All,
I joined NCR in 1970 and used NEAT/3 levels 1 and 2 to develop banking software for the Century 200, 300 and later Criterion systems.  It was very much like the IBM Assembler and therefore easy to learn, having used the IBM Assembler previously in the US Air Force.  I continued programming in this versatile language until 1996 when the bank for which I am now working converted from the NCR CLASS and CIF financial systems running on the V-8500 Series to an IBM AS/400.  I value my years working for NCR and have many fond memories throughout the 1970's.
Dennis Reedy


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: GaryG on March 25, 2007, 07:56:17 pm
This message board brings back lots of happy memories for me.

I began writing in NEAT/3 & NEAT VS back in the early 1980's - on I think an 8565. I stayed with NCR mainframes up till  '93 (I think) - by then I had progressed onto a 9800 (wow).

By todays standards anyone who used NEAT would be classed as a computer 'geek' - able to apply manual patches to code at run time, and if required, recode DURING execution......... Ah happy days   :) 

The saddest day, was when I was required to initialize the disc array, as we migrated onto an IBM.

Gary


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: Dellji on April 25, 2007, 03:39:22 am
I started writing in NEAT/3 in 1970.  NEAT/3 is the 3rd generation of NEAT and was for the Century, NEAT was for the 315.  I was the USDPG Product Manager for 10 years from 1980-1990 and many of you may have seen me at NUCON each year.

Jim Dell


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: RetrospectUK on May 20, 2007, 01:02:35 pm
Hi everyone.

I have the programming manual for NEAT on the NCR ELLIOTT 4100 dating from 1966 and the NEAT3 books; 'NCR Century Handbook for Systems Analysts' (1975), 'NCR Century Operators Handbook' (1973) and 'NCR Century Operating Handbook' (1975). They are large publications to scan in and put on the web but if anyone requires any specific information about NEAT commands let me know and I will be happy to copy and pass on any relevent sections.

Ian (UK)


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: RetrospectUK on May 21, 2007, 10:04:38 am
Katsuhiko

It was good to read that you still have meetings of ex employees in Japan. I have a 16mm film of the building and opening of the Oiso factory in 1956 and 1957.

I have put a digital copy of it at http://www.ncr.org.uk/html%20files/Films.htm
The film was originally silent but I have added background music which you can turn off.

I hope that you enjoy it and that it brings back some good memories.

Ian (UK)


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse on June 02, 2007, 01:56:11 pm
Dear Ian, UK

  Good afternoon and good evening from Yokohama located near the Oiso factory of NCR.
I appreciate your information.
It's very valuable.
I could find out, Great person, Mr. Gorge Haynes in his younger days, when I was just only 11 years old,
an elemental school boy.
I have enjoyed very much remembering the entrance door of the factory building and the employee restaurant.

Thank you so much, Ian.
I transfered the url address to my NEAT/14 member.

Best regards,
Katsuhiko


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: modus on August 20, 2007, 11:55:20 pm
I remember in IT, when they were forcing us to move to COBOL 68 from NEAT/3. 

So our first command in our COBOL proceedure division was Enter NEAT/3 level II.


Good old -- Mode2(m2) and Mode 3(m3) commands :)


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: iainr on September 28, 2007, 09:12:25 pm
Just found this website. Brings back many good memories.
Unfortunately I thew out most of my NEAT/3 and Century stuff 20 years ago.
But I still have the following handbooks
3 - Century Handbook for Systems Analysts.  2 Blue (SP-1425 1074 & 0677)  1 Pink (UK DC507)
1 - Century Operator's Handbook pale blue (ST-1360 1076)
1 Criterion RS1 handbook for Systems Analysts. Yellow ST-1377 0776
1 Criterion RS1 Operator's handbook. Yellow ST-1378 0776

3 - 8200 Cobol Students Text Yellow EP-9867 0774, pale green EP-9820 0176, Green (UK DC/516)
1 - 8200 Cobol pocket reference Green (UK DC-517)

I worked in the Birmingham(UK) office from 1968-71, 72-77) with a year in Dayton (1976-77) mainly on the Century 100/200 and then on 8200.
NCR was the best training ground there was.

Iain


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse on November 26, 2007, 06:20:28 pm
Ian, RetrospectUK

  Good morning from Japan.
I noticed that the memorial factory 'old E&M Oiso' in Japan have been disappeared recently.
Last weekend, I triped to the hospital where my first grand daughter was born in last week
through the front of the old Oiso factory of NCR that developed and produced many cash registers in 1900s.
I was very surprised at the surface of the white sand ground where the factory stood.
Because there is no building there. It looks like the place of the building #10 of NCR Dayton in 1980s.

New human life has been started, and old production lines had finished the life cycle.
I was thinking of our eternal memory in the train.

Have a good memory,
Katsuhiko


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: HowardParsons on February 07, 2008, 10:23:45 pm
Hello Ian,
    I am a NEAT/3 relic. I began my career in 1974 operating an NCR Century 101 for Best Products in Richmond, VA. My computer had an amazing 32 K of memory. I left Best Products in 1975 & moved to Atlanta and wound up operating another 101 for Capitol Food Distributors. They subsequently upgraded to a 151 & then a Criterion 8550. The 151 was sold to an auto-parts distributor, Peachtree Warehose Distributors, in Chamblee, GA - just north of Atlanta. I got tired of working the 2nd shift & left to go to work for Peachtree Warehouse where I was reunited with the 151. It was there that I first began programming in NEAT/3 - mostly short programmes or small mods to existing applications.

   Peachtree ran into financial difficulties about a year later and I left for a few months & then returned as it appeared that the company was going to stay afloat just a bit longer. When Peachtree finally did go under, I went to The Harrison Company, a lawbook publisher, where I worked as a programmer for 3 & 1/2 years. I mainly wrote applications for their electronic publishing & composition system in NEAT/VS though I did cobble a few applications in NCR Cobol & RPG II.

   I finally left NCR systems in 1982 when I relocated to Charlottesville, VA to work for another legal publisher. While I was at Peachtree Warehouse, my predecessor was a fellow named Loren Wilson. Although he had moved on, he did stop by the shop one day for a brief visit. In 1986, Loren came to work as my boss in CHarlottesville, VA.

   Since those heady days w/ NEAT/3 & NEAT/VS, I've coded WANG & IBM assembler, WANG & IBM COBOL, PL/1, C, Perl & Java. Truth be told, I've never enjoyed programming as much as I did on NCR systems & would give anything to be able to write some NEAT/3 code again. (Remembering how is another matter!) ;)

Howard Parsons
LexisNexis
Charlottesville, VA


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: Aleksandrs Guba on February 08, 2008, 10:08:26 pm
Hi Howard,

There are words in your post which I am ready to join to (just modifying slightly the name of language): "Truth be told, I've never enjoyed programming as much as I did on NCR systems & would give anything to be able to write some NEAT 399 code again".

Welcome aboard!


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: Mel Lee on March 06, 2008, 01:40:04 pm
Neat/s and periodin assembly commands like Jump to register "51" command or was it "15" common and I developed subroutines like a print, or open, or close end program decks of cards to re load in every program compile to save making errors.  Even used "Best" macros

This was at Landsdown iN Toronto at NCR Canada head office where I wrote payroll and then manufacturing software for the plant.  I was fresh out of University where we used IBM 360 Fortran

When I asked to go on a Cobol program they thought I was crazy and a heritic.  I transfered to sales of the 615 and was qyite good replacing 7 IBM 360's the first year with solution selling from our ORBIT and GL and Manufacturing then later SPIRIT

I never looked back $$$ and CPC in ROME etc. year after year.  Had user base of 26 Centurys.  When corporate moved to Century Avenue in Mississauga my customers called it "Head Crash Alley" even after ceramic heads were llocated by who's disck screamed the loudest.

Mel Lee

Last position after Indusrty Retail manager was with Jerry Stead as "Champion of Change Our Common Bond
Canada


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: uglytuna on March 18, 2008, 08:52:04 pm
Greetings Katsuhiko,

When you mentioned Sumitomo Bank, I immediately thought of how we used to be so proud of the fact that our Japanese NCR team could bring so many advanced hardware and software computing technologies to our company.  Especially the Century 350 running an enhanced B4 operating system with enhanced 624 on-line communications processors.

I thought I might share a story of my first experience with NEAT.  I was a 315 service man in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1967 where I installed and maintained 315 computers for several customers in the area.  Our branch parts department inventory control was a manual process at the time.  If someone took the last part out of a bin, he was supposed to order another one.  As we grew in size and numbers, it became nearly impossible to keep parts on hand.

At that time I was working on a 315 program that played music through a radio set upon the processor cabinet.  It was written in machine code (we called it “Absolute” code), entered on a Class 31 accounting machine with a custom form bar and paper tape punch.  One of the 315 instructors in Dayton, I think it was Pete Lord, discovered that the Accumulator circuitry would resonate at radio frequencies when performing the Load, Store, and Shift commands in specific timed loop sequences.  I thought it was “way cool” and modified it to play other songs.  When I showed our branch manager how a 315 could play music on a radio he asked me if I could “program” our branch service parts inventory.  After doing a little analysis I figured that it could be done with about a half dozen or so programs, and he said, do it.

I asked the DP manager, Henry Redder, at First State Bank in Zeeland, Michigan if I could use his 315 system to develop the application and he gave me the go ahead.  Then, after a couple of weeks of coding in Absolute, punching it up on PPT, and testing, Henry told me I should look into programming it in NEAT.  He said it would be ever so much easier, what with all the fancy things such as a compiler that actually generated macros by writing just a single command.  So I read the manual, asked him a ton of questions, studied this new (to me) process; NEAT programming language including macros, source coding sheets, form bar, compiler, object code (Absolute…this I understood and could easily apply "patches"), and listings.  With all that help it wasn’t long before our service manager had a Master report of our parts inventory showing part number and name, bin location, high-order, on-hand count, and low-order point.  This was followed by an automated Order report listing all parts that reached their low-order point.

I was hooked.  Maintaining hardware took a back step for me to working with software.  It wasn’t long before I transferred to Systems Services in Dayton.

Another old war story…

Best regards,

Herb Fish


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: JimT on March 19, 2008, 07:02:59 am
"One of the 315 instructors in Dayton, I think it was Pete Lord, ---"

I knew Pete Lord.  The last time I saw him he was working on open architecture software for test systems.  He and I are/were into fast cars.  He built a 600 ci Cadillac engine and put it into his '79 Cadillac Seville.  A very talented man.


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: uglytuna on March 19, 2008, 10:25:26 pm
Pete Lord was a wonderful instructor.  He taught 315 processor to our class in late '65.  It was one of the longer courses in our 42 week curriculum.  He knew the hardware and logic like the back of his hand and had a knack at explaining it so others could understand, and more importantly, maintain and service it if (when) it failed.  He was a master at inflicting damage to a perfectly good processor and then encourage us to resolve and repair the failure within a given time period.

He only washed out a few guys mainly because of his teaching skills.  We studied hard at each other’s apartment on Thursday nights, dreading the next day’s You Bet Your Job weekly exam, especially apprentices who had already failed two exams to that point.  Their tenure at “The Cash” would come to an abrupt halt upon failing a third exam.

When you left his class and went on to the next class, the 340 printer as I recall, you had the confidence that you knew the machine and could take care of anything that went wrong with it.  But then you were subjected to Dayton logic after mastering Hawthorn logic...

Herb



Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: Neat3Century on May 10, 2008, 05:45:05 am
In the early 1970s I operated a NCR Century computer and we had to learn Neat/3. I also posted this information on computerLanguages.


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse on May 31, 2008, 07:04:36 am
Dear Herb, and all!

  Good morning and good evening from Yokohama, Japan.
I can revive my activity on this site freely, because Norton security software of my PC have accepted my clicking into this web.

Well, Herb,
you push my memory back during the 1970s decade in the computer center of Sumitomo Bank, Osaka, my dreamable ages as a software engineer with our great bosses and team.

Our top great boss is Mr. Masaya Ito who is the founder to initiate our dream coming true at the Sumitomo Bank by his systems approach since NCR 304 computer selling.
My first time to meet him was when he invited us, freshmen of the system support division (SSD) in NCR Japan, into the discussion room, in order to teach his policy of the business manner as software engineers for our customers. For example, (1) he suggested that we has to look at the eyes of customers always during presentation and negotiation. (2) Boys be ambitious. He introduced his story to get an order from Sumitomo Bank that accepted the network coupled NCR 315RMC distributed-processing systems around 1960s. He said that he used to, in his heart, sing a song 'Jinsei-gekijo' (The dramatic stage of one's whole life, in English expression) looking at the famous tall tower of Osake, 'Tsuhteng-kaku', in order to get the good final decision by Sumitomo Bank. The song word is, 'I am sure to try without giving up', for example.
I had encouraged very much by his speach in 1969.

Our next great boss is Mr. Ikuo Akiyama who invented the transaction-process based realtime superior operating systems of NCR. He had implemented the software science into the software engineering & architecture during 1960s. He had tried to reduce the dumb procedure of software by his idea to implement the multi-treading and the MMU-based shielding architecture of software in oreder to get the high performance of processing under the easy designing and programming for the customer. It's so great view thbrough the 'Dyna-probe' logic analyzer.

Under coaching of them, we the freshperson team had grown to best fighters in the computer business through developing the large scaled operating systems for NCR Century.

I would like to know the development story of Century B-series software around late 1960s.
I am thinking that the designer and developer would get much hard development as the initiator of the first disk-based operating systems with the large scaled software overlay.
Because I have much interests in the design story of the third generation software in NCR Dayton.
Does anyone introduce your understanding?

Best regards,
Katsuhiko
Yokohama, Japan


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: Herman on July 16, 2008, 09:14:24 pm
Quote
NEAT/3 was an Assembly language used in NCR-315 systems.
NEATVS  came later with the Criterion Series (NCR-8500) in 1970s

NEAT = 315
NEAT/3 = Century
NEAT/VS = Criterion


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: QuietBS on August 25, 2008, 09:18:01 pm
I just discovered this site today and what a wonderful flood of memories from my old NCR days. 

I'm an old banking CIF, CLASS, STARCOM guy and miss NEAT/3, VS, and VRX.  Nothing like being in my office in the middle of the night with a 500-page dump trying to figure out why that register went haywire (it was usually one of my patches!).

After the end of the NCR I knew, I would never again get as proficient in a language as I had become in NEAT/3 and NEATVS.  Which is why I'm in management now, where old coders go to die.  :)

Bruce
Maryland


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: KevinB on September 15, 2008, 11:33:52 pm
Wow...as I approach my 30th anniversary working in "data processing", I decided to Google NEATVS and here I am. This is cool, nice memories...I started as an operator, Criterion 85xx, B1 operating system, 658 disk drives, a train printer with a VFU loop...my last look was in 1997 when I wrapped up a conversion project moving from NCR VRX/E with a home grown database to an Oracle/HP-UX platform, using the UNION interface with a TOWER 700 hooked on the system bus...all "roll your own" stuff...I saved an 8-inch firmware floppy from an 8845 as my souvenir...good to see some of us are still alive  ;D   
Thanks all, and best wishes!

Kevin Brady


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: Systemind on October 25, 2008, 08:22:27 am
Hi,

I also worked on the NEAT/VS system in 1982. I was using register to modify the execution code itself to hop the link using the content of the register. It made the code small but it is difficult to debug when thing gone wrong. It is very similar for hyper link in current XML environment.

Regards, ac


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: esjones on July 26, 2009, 03:25:38 pm
Hello to all. I, too, am an old NEAT/3 and NEATVS programmer from the 70's and 80's. I worked at Gem City Savings in Dayton, Ohio, also the Montgomery County Data Center, ANACOMP (which operated the data center at the NCR Employees Credit Union), PERFORM (a Credit Union processor), Consolidated Software Systems, and was one of four founders of C-Spec Corporation.

I have many fond (and a few not-so-fond) memories of working with NCR Century, Criterion and V-8000 and V-9800 systems. It's quite a culture shock to have worked so close to the bare metal in those days, and now not knowing anything about the basic opcode sets and register layouts of modern CPUs! 

I'm glad I found this forum, and look forward to trading stories and sharing memories.

 - ESJ


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: JohnB on November 21, 2009, 12:30:31 am
It was fascinating reading other comments about NEAT/3.  I go back ... way, way, way back with NCR.  I've programmed Century 50, 100, 101, 200, 300 models using COBOL and NEAT/3.  My little laptop has 2GB of memory ... those machines had 16K bytes (8-bit bytes) of memory and part of that memory was reserved for the OS and I worked in several multi-million dollar (and that's back when a dollar WAS a dollar) corporations that were run on machines just like that.

It surprised me that no one has mentioned the compiler directive USE >EXEC.LEVEL2 which allowed you to use lower level assembler instructions (MVAR, MVEB, REPEAT, BCOMP, UADD, BADD, etc.).  USE >EXEC.LEVEL3 let you control the IO but I never -- even for fun -- did that.  I did write programs that took advantage of all sorts of inherent capabilities of NEAT/3 such as letting the compiler stuff buffers with instructions and addresses so you could save space.  For example, you'd tell the compiler to put a bunch of instructions in the buffer for File1 and you'd use those instructions to initialize tables, etc and then jump to the buffer of File2.  Almost the the first thing you'd do in the buffer for File2 would be to open File1.  Since your tables were now initialized you no longer needed that code and it would be overwritten by the file data.  Why do this?  The machines had very limited memory and you had to watch every single byte.

Another time, I set up the program so that a table contained the addresses of various routines along with the offset and length into a second table containing data.  I had a tight little loop that would scoop up some data (based on the offset and length) and then pass control to the appropriate routine (because the routine's address was already stored in the table).  Normally, this isn't a big deal but we were working with minimal memory machines and lots and lots and lots of data coming in where the same validation routines could be used over and over.

I actually worked for NCR South Africa for a brief time.  I did a variety of things including teaching ADS/PDS (Accurately Defined Systems and ... can't remember what the second TLA was for) as well as teaching NEAT/3.   

Part of the sales pitch was that you didn't need to hire new staff to program the machine, your existing staff could be taught to program in NEAT/3.  In fact, of course, it wasn't quite that easy and we'd insist that trainees had to pass a programmer's aptitude test.  That test -- though it was very straightforward -- very quickly weeded out those who were unable to do a very simple piece of abstract thinking:  if you have three boxes (1, 2, and 3) and they contain numbers (2, 3, and 1) and I asked you to tell me the number in the box whose number is in box 2 ... some people would insist that it was "2" (the box), others would say 3 (the number in box 2) but the right answer is 1 (box 2 contains "3"; the number in box 3 is "1").

I wish I hadn't left when I did.  I had a great job and worked with some terrific people but I was homesick (I'd been away for nearly 5 years) so I came back to Canada. 

I worked in a number of sites with NCR equipment.  At one company, the machine was so new that we'd power it up to do a compile and then power it off again.  Well, that's when I started.  A year later we had it running 18 hours a day on production runs and compiles and testing had to be squeezed in whenever time would permit.  One guy I worked with was a "summer student" who worked during the summer and went back to school in the fall.  Although our lives have followed quite different trajectories, he and I are still in touch on a weekly basis today.

I eventually ended up back at NCR where I worked in the NCR Mississauga data centre for about a year before leaving for the second time and going on to other jobs and other companies.

I still have my blue-green handbook and a sheaf of notes that I made about critical addresses and internal processing sequences such as the event sequence when you have an ME (Memory Error) or PE (Parity Error). 

Definitely fun times.


Title: Re: Neat/3
Post by: n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse on June 05, 2010, 12:09:13 pm
Hi! anyone who has good memory throu NEAT/3,

 I have just moved to my hometown in this Spring.
After adjusting my library in order to make spaces for my books,
I found my bible 'NEAT/3 reference manual' in the sealed box.
This manual is my teacher to get English language and my god to
navigate me to the engineering to make programs in 1969
when I was a trainee at the Tokyo office of the Sales Support Division,
NCR Japan, as I posted ever in another page of this forum.

It was very hard for me to read English sentences and also
understand the meaning of those instructions really.
Because, at the time, I had no knowldge of the computer architecture,
that is, the idea of Dr. John Von Neumann, the necessity of the Software
program and I had my very poor vocabulary of English.
Now I am remembering my novice good days with my fresh colleague.

BTW, does anyone has a documentation, 'NEAT/3 Level II reference manual'?

Best regards,
Katsuhiko