My Introduction to Computers

On June 14, 1969, when I was 9 years old, my father invited the rest of the family to Copenhagen Forum. There the company he worked for, Haldor Topsøe, had an exhibition. My father was the IT manager at Topsøe and had started the use of computers at that company already in 1958. I can't remember what the theme of the exhibition was, but at the stand they had set up a terminal connected to a mainframe via a telephone line.

The terminal ran APL\360.

I was only nine, but I was immediately caught by this computer. I can remember that my parents had a difficult time getting me home again.

This was my first introduction to computers, and I've been interested in them ever since.

I didn't learn much at the terminal at that time, but I started to study the two manuals my father had: The "APL\360 User's Manual" and "APL\360 Primer Student Text". You can find these manuals on I asked him many questions.

I haven't had much time at a terminal with APL at that time so I can't say I'm an experienced user. I soon afterwards started to work with the GIER machine they had at Topsøe's, but that is another story.

So APL is the first computer language I've learned, and that's something you never forget...

On February 13, 2014, DDHF arranged a meeting together with IBM, celebrating the 50 years with IBM system 360. It was mentioned that simulators have been made, simulating a complete IBM 360 mainframe. So I wondered, what about APL\360?

Google was my friend: A year before IBM had released the source code for APL\360 for download at the Computer History Museum.

And googling further, I found a posting from Jürgen Winkelmann. It contains a link to a zip file containing all what is needed to get the source code (this must be downloaded separately) running on a simulated IBM model 370.

Just download the source code and the file, unzip it, read the instructions, and quickly you are up and running on your Linux or Windows machine.

He has also released a patch that makes it possible to run with a larger workspace than the default. This has been used in the examples shown here.

You can find more information on Jürgen's homepage: MVT for APL Version 2.00.

You need to download the and install the font described in the manual in order to read the APL examples here.

Further reading:

You can have a look at the PDF versions if you haven't installed the APL font.