Virgilio Pasquali and the 1900 Range
A few steps in my career leading to my 1900 Range activities.
1- 1952-1959 Rome University
In 1952 I started at Rome University (Engineering Faculty) (now University “Sapienza” di Roma), and I obtained a degree as Doctor in Electrical Engineering (Electronics) in April 1959.
My Doctorate Thesis was in Computer Design (one of the first two thesis in Computer design at Rome University, funded by a grant from UNIVAC), done at the INAC (“Istituto Nazionale per le Applicazioni del Calcolo" in Rome) supervised by Ing. Paolo Ercoli and Ing. Roberto Vacca. (INAC had a Ferranti Mark1* computer).
I obtained my Diploma of Engineer at the first session of the State exam in July 1959 (the State exam to enable to exercise the profession of engineer had just been introduced in Italy that year).
2- 1959-1963 FERRANTI
In 1959 I joined the Manchester West Gorton Orion 1 team (Charles Lindsey, John Thompson and Virgilio Pasquali, later Charlie Portman and Chris Burton), where I designed and implemented the Orion peripheral control scheme based on an autonomous Central Peripheral Controller, Lockouts and Store Hesitations. Additionally, I designed and implemented the Orion Magnetic Tape Controller and the Paper Tape Reader/Paper Tape Punch Controller.
3- 1963-1968 Ferranti then ICT (from Sept.’63)
In 1963 I joined the Hugh Devonald team (Derek Eldridge, Glyn Emery, Virgilio Pasquali and Bruce Paterson) in Lily Hill, Bracknell, where the initial technical definition of the 1900 Range took place.
Subsequently I became responsible for the technical planning of the successive manifestations of the 1900 Range (1901, E/F Series, and A and S Series).
4- From 1968 ICL
In late 1968, after having planned the 1900A Series and the 1900B Series (that later became the 1900S Series), and following the ICT-English Electric merger that formed ICL, I joined on special secondment the “New Range” design team.
This team (NRO), led by Mike Forrest, was charged with specifying the Computer Range for the new company. In the NR team I led the design of the architecture of what became the 2900 Range.