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Author Topic: Neat/3  (Read 97320 times)
Posts: 1

« Reply #30 on: September 15, 2008, 11:33:52 pm » 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 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  Grin   
Thanks all, and best wishes!

Kevin Brady
Posts: 4

« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2008, 08:22:27 am »


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
Posts: 2

« Reply #32 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
Posts: 1

« Reply #33 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.
n8eyh with OCD-WM42 of Hilse
Jr. Member
Posts: 60

« Reply #34 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,
« Last Edit: June 05, 2010, 12:12:08 pm by n8eyh » Logged

Katsuhiko Hirai
Fan of the Century architecture under 63 index registers.
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