This Day in History

This Day in History (1974): Computers and How to Use Them subject of engineers' course

More than three dozen Aramcons learn the fundamentals of computer language, terminals, and mathematics.

This Day in History (1974): Computers and How to Use Them subject of engineers' course

From the March 13, 1974, edition of The Arabian Sun

Forty Aramco engineers learned the basics of computer programming earlier this month when two specialists from the U.S. instructed them in the fundamentals of computer language, computer terminals, and computer mathematics.


Dr. David A.T. Donohue, president of Intercomp/Human Resources Development Corporation and F.J. Hilliard, president of Opcode, who have given many similar courses the U.S., South America, and Europe, conducted the two-week course under the sponsorship of the electronic Data Processing Department for the benefit of the Aramco Engineering Department.


The objective of the course was not only to show the engineers how to program, but also to demonstrate in a practical way exactly what a computer can and can't do, and the precise type of information it needs to complete any given job. A further objective was to teach the engineers to use existing computer programs by entering data required by them.


For purposes of the course, three IBM teletypewriter terminals were installed in Dhahran conference Room D. These "typewriters" were connected with Aramco's central IBM 370/158 computer so that students could get a share of so-called "real time" or actual computer time, as opposed to batch entry of programs.


Caption for top photo: Bud Hilliard and Dave Donohue instruct Aramco engineers in the proper use of computer language, where the wrong choice of word may easily result in the wrong solution. Computer languages are the specialty of mathematician Hillard, who has developed several in his capacity as consultant to various oil companies. Co-instructor Donohue, who specializes in engineer mathematics for computers, holds doctorate degrees in engineering and law, and formerly taught petroleum engineering at Penn State University.


Also on this date

2020 U.S. President Donald J. Trump declares the COVID-19 pandemic to be a national emergency in the U.S.


2003 An article in "Nature" identifies the Ciampate del Diavolo as 350,000-year-old hominid footprints


1988 The Seikan tunnel, the longest tunnel in the world with an undersea segment, opens between Aomori and Hakodate, Japan


1969 Apollo 9 returns safely to Earth after testing the Lunar Module


1930 News of the discovery of Pluto is announced by Lowell Observatory


1845 Felix Mendelssohn's Violin Concerto receives its première performance in Leipzig with Ferdinand David as soloist


1781 William Herschel discovers Uranus


1639 Harvard College is named after clergyman John Harvard


You are currently using an older browser. Please note that using a more modern browser such as Microsoft Edge might improve the user experience. Download Microsoft Edge