[SIGCIS-Members] Tandem Computers

Paul McJones paul at mcjones.org
Tue May 21 13:26:25 PDT 2013

Dear Bernardo,

Joel Bartlett is one of the Tandem founders; he is also responsible for 
the software architecture (process pairs, etc.) in the original NonStop 
system. I met Joel when I worked at Tandem between 1981-1984.  When I 
passed along your email, he replied:

> There's a crowd-sourced history called "Tandem Computers Unplugged - A 
> People's History" that Gaye I. Clemson wrote. It has errors (including 
> my employee number), but people seem to find it an entertaining read. 
> It's available from fastpencil.com <http://fastpencil.com>. An 
> interesting element of oral history was interviews done with the 
> original crew that were spliced together for the 10th anniversary. We 
> may or may not have a copy.
> As to technical history, reading the initial publications by Katzman 
> and myself is the earliest public info. I had more information, but it 
> was scooped up by Tandem legal when I left.
> If someone wants to do an oral history, they better get started soon 
> as at 64, I'm the youngest of the original crew.

You can order the book Joel mentioned via Amazon or from the author's 
web site:


The initial technical publications Joel referred to were presented at 
the Eleventh Hawaii International Computer Conference on System 
Scienceds in January 1978, but have been reprinted, for example in 
Siewiorek and Swarz: /The Theory and Practice of Reliable System Design 
/(Digital Press, 1982).

Paul McJones

On 5/17/2013 11:51 PM, Bernardo Batiz-Lazo wrote:
> Hello
> I am looking for the archives or any article on the History of Tandem 
> computers. I am particularly interested in how they developed the 
> so-called "NonStop"  (fault-tolerant) system:
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tandem_Computers
> Any pointers will be appreciated.
> Kind regards
> Bernardo
> Bangor University (Wales)
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