Project Whirlwind Collection


Project Whirlwind Collection


The Whirlwind I computer was developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology between 1945 and 1952 in a project directed by Jay Forrester. The project was first carried out in the Servomechanisms Laboratory. Later it separated to become the Digital Computer Laboratory and Lincoln Laboratory, Division 6, and testing continued through 1958. Jay Forrester served as director of both laboratories until 1956, and Robert Everett as associate director, then director. A key part of the Whirlwind I design was the high-speed and highly reliable magnetic core memory for the computer storage system, replacing electrostatic storage tubes. Jay Forrester was issued a patent for the magnetic core memory, and it was used successfully and widely in large computers.

56.3 cubic feet; in 189 boxes including 142 microfilm reels and 4035 MB in 1835 digital files in 31 folders.

eng, Latn

Related Entities

There are 5 Entities related to this resource.

Lincoln Laboratory. Division 6 (corporateBody)

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Digital Computer Laboratory (corporateBody)

Forrester, Jay W. (person)

The development of Whirlwind I, one of the first large-scale high-speed computers, began during World War II as part of a research project to develop a universal flight trainer that would simulate flight (the Aircraft Stability and Control Analyzer project). It was initiated by the Office of Naval Research and began at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Servomechanisms Laboratory in 1944. Eventually the focus of the grant, a flight simulator (using an analog computer), change...

Massachusetts institute of technology. Servomechanisms laboratory (corporateBody)

Project Whirlwind was centered in the Servomechanics Laboratory at Massachusetts Institute of Technology with its original objective being the development of a device that would simulate airplanes in flight. In the course of the research, Whirlwind eventually evolved into a key element of the U.S.'s early air defense system. Since M.I.T. did not view this as an appropriate action for an educational institution to take part in, it transferred the entire project to the MITRE Corp. From...

Mitre Corporation (corporateBody)

The MITRE Corporation is a not-for-profit organization based in Bedford, Massachusetts and McLean, Virginia. MITRE operates federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) to provide the United States government with support for systems engineering, research and development, and information technology. It manages FFRDCs for the Department of Defense, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Homeland Securi...