Real Time Processing
this page is a summary of a part of monography (in French) written by Yves LOGE who was a leader in those activities.
In the early 1960s, Bull's market was almost exclusively business data processing. However, some tiny margianl markets were identified: the process control market and an emerging market , that of real time processing, around the automation of logistic processes. Bull developed during a few years the Programmateur Numérique and its successor the GEADAC for the latter market.
A first venture of Bull was the automation of storage of axles for PEUGEOT cars maker, realized in conjunction with CFC Compagnie Française dee Convoyeurs. The application used the mechanism of the Bull's D sorter with an electromechanical sensor of CFC.
Another project based on Programmateur Numérique
(PN) was developed for automating the slabbing mill of the new Usinor steel plant in
Dunkerque. Bull's products include an operator console (paper tape, typewriter, real time
clock, keys and displays) and 4 logic units for data buffering, computation of deviations
between real and planned slabs. The production program was on paper
tape. The project was headed by O. Toppino, the creator of Programmateur Numérique.
Standard logical functions (such as digital adder, 9's complement, OR/AND ...)were
implemented in small chassis called "modules" containing around 10 relays and
diodes and a small connestion panel. The relay technology used by Programmateur Numérique
was the "small relays" used by Bull in punched cards equipments produced
by the Vendôme plant. The Programmateur Numérique could contribute to reduce the excess
capacity of the Vendôme plant.
Other PN applications were Grands Moulins Vilgrain -silo automation-, the Botleck Silo of the Port of Rotterdam, Etablissement Troseille in Angers -machine tool automation-, Corpet Louvet (automatic data concentrator christened CAD), Nuclear center in Grenoble (CAD).
PROGRAMMATEUR NUMERIQUE technology
After a promising start-up of that activity in 1962-1963,
the Bull crisis of 1964 marked also the Bull's real time activities. A
revival occurred in 1966 when the Programmateur Numérique was modernized as
GEADAC (General Electric Automatic Data Acquisition and
Circulation system). GEADAC was included as a Small System department
product under M Rollet and with Yves Logé as the key project leader.
Peripherals such as a badge-reader, a 10x10 keys console were developed.
The Sète fish market auction room system (inaugurated in March 1969) used a tabulator as a back end processor, while the GEADAC was controlling the buyers consoles and the fish scales. A similar system was implemented for the flower market in Nice. CBR Liège -cement dispatching- was the first GEADAC system used with a GE58 as a back-end data processing machine.
GEADAC systems were delivered for CEA at La Hague, Sud Aviation Saint Nazaire, Est Color Metz
Revision : 19 février 2002.