The EL-X8 computer and the BOL detector Networking, programming, time-sharing and data-handling in the Amsterdam nuclear research project `BOL' A personal historical review
From 1967 to 1974, an Electrologica X8 computer was installed at the Institute for Nuclear Research (IKO) in Amsterdam, primarily for online and offline evaluation of experimental data, an application quite different from its `brother's', X8's. During that time, the nuclear detection system `BOL' was in operation to study nuclear reactions. The BOL detector embodied a new and bold concept. It consisted of a large number of state-of-the-art detection units, mounted in a spherical arrangement around a target in a beam of nuclear particles. Two minicomputers performed data acquisition and control of the experiment and supported online visual display of acquired data. The X8 computer, networked with the minicomputers, allowed fast high-level data processing and analysis. Pioneering work in both experimental nuclear physics as well as in programming, turned out to be a surprisingly good combination. For the network with the X8 and the minicomputers, advanced software layers were developed to efficiently and flexibly program extensive data handling.