[TUHS] The most surprising Unix programs

Rich Morin rdm at cfcl.com
Sat Mar 21 04:43:05 AEST 2020

Back in the 70's, I bought an HP-67 for some ridiculous amount of money.  I only wrote one significant program on it, but I think folks here might find the idea interesting.  My X-Ray astronomy project at NRL (HEAO A1) was using a CDC 3800 for data analysis.  The machine had 48-bit words and used octal to display binary values.  I decided to write a program to convert the binary representation of a floating point number into the numeric value.

For starters, it had to accept a pair of 24-bit values, expressed in (mock) octal.  That is, when I entered 12345, it was actually 12345(8), not 12345(10).  So, the program had to turn these values back into real integers.  It then pulled out the exponent and mantissa, did the appropriate calculations, and displayed the floating-point value.  It worked, but it wasn't all that fast.  As I recall, it took about 30 seconds...


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