1965–70: The Birth of UDAC

In 1965 the Swedish Parliament decided that computer centers should be established at the universities and that they would be placed under the Swedish Agency for Public Management. On October 4th that year, Uppsala datacentral, UDAC, was opened. At that time, twenty persons were already working at UDAC, and Werner Schneider was the Operations Director. His closest colleagues were Klaus Appel and Göran Petterson, and Jack Honold was the Chief Operator.

The concept of a university computer center in Uppsala included installation and operation of a powerful electronic computer plant. A so-called supportive computer programmer group was added, with the task of initiating the use of such a facility to other scientific fields than the traditional natural sciences.

In addition, the university computer center and the supportive computer programmer group were assigned to spread the knowledge about the new technology to the regional industrial and public sectors and, on a commercial basis, help these sectors use the technology.

This infrastructure was the foundation for most of the essential and lasting innovations originating from Uppsala. Initially all of UDAC’s work revolved around the CD 3600, which turned out to be an amazing asset. It made it possible to do fast calculations with large amounts of data, and it made formerly impossible projects possible. After four years, the machine was running at one hundred percent capacity, and the plant was running around the clock. This was mainly due to an increasing number of external clients.

The solution was, of course, a new and more powerful machine. The parliamentary decision mentioned above anticipated that a machine at the university would last at most 5-6 years. The financial model also assumed that the clients’ fees would make a new investment possible within that time frame. Consequently, there were means, and under the supervision of the Swedish Agency for Public Management a new computer was bought for Uppsala. After considerable thought, the choice was an IBM370/155.