VCF East — Keynotes

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Announcing the Vintage Computer Festival East XIII keynote speakers!

Friday: Bill Dromgoole, “Military computing and the UNIVAC 1219-B restoration” — Among the incredible artifacts in the Vintage Computer Federation museum is a UNIVAC 1219-B military mainframe. The system is from the mid-1960s. It’s a general-purpose computer, but its intended use was “radar in, artillery out” on a U.S. Navy destroyer or cruiser ship. Bill Dromgoole and Duane Craps are leading our restoration of this system. Bill will explain the computer’s context, our restoration approach, and the progress so far. Hint: yes, we made it play Hunt the Wumpus!

Saturday: Don Eyles, “The mother of all tech support calls: Hacking the Apollo 14 guidance computer” — Apollo 13 is the famous mission that almost ended in tragedy but was saved by engineers on the ground. Apollo 14 isn’t as famous, but has a better story for nerds like us! The “abort” key on the guidance computer became enabled and got stuck. How do you hack a computer command which was designed for no ifs, ands, or buts? NASA contractor Don Eyles did just that in 1971 to save the mission, and he’ll share the story with us. And that’s not his only claim to fame: Don also wrote the landing software.

Sunday: Dave Walden, “BBN, the ARPAnet, and IMP programming” — Bolt, Beranek, and Newman began as an MIT-spawned engineering consultancy and wound up being a major player in the formation of the ARPANET which led to the modern Internet. Dave Walden’s job was to program the first generation of routers — “Internet Message Processors,” or IMPs.