Guide to the Burt Grad General Electric and IBM records

Finding aid prepared by Adrienne Harling and Sara Chabino Lott
Processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from the Computer History Museum’s Software Industry Special Interest Group.
Computer History Museum
1401 N. Shoreline Blvd.
Mountain View, CA, 94043
(650) 810-1010
August 2016

Title: Burt Grad General Electric and IBM records
Identifier/Call Number: X6906.2014
Contributing Institution: Computer History Museum
Language of Material: English
Physical Description: 4.17 Linear feet, 3 record cartons and 1 manuscript box
Date (inclusive): 1949-1978
Abstract: This collection contains records from Burt Grad’s work with General Electric and IBM from 1949-1978. Grad did substantial work on factory automation and business systems management, reflected in large projects called the Integrated Systems Project (ISP) and the Study Organization Plan (SOP), both documented in this collection. The collection also contains content about decision tables – a tool Grad developed to map cause-and-effect logic for systems programming purposes. Additional areas of interest include Grad’s work on Application System Development Method (ASDM), factory simulation models, the Productron computer, TABSOL software for automation of decision tables, and more. Materials consist primarily of technical reports and notes, correspondence, manuals and marketing materials for products, and some articles.
creator: Grad, Burton

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Publication Rights

The Computer History Museum (CHM) can only claim physical ownership of the collection. Users are responsible for satisfying any claims of the copyright holder. Requests for copying and permission to publish, quote, or reproduce any portion of the Computer History Museum’s collection must be obtained jointly from both the copyright holder (if applicable) and the Computer History Museum.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of Item], [Date], Burt Grad General Electric and IBM records, Lot X6906.2014, Box [#], Folder [#], Catalog [#], Computer History Museum.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of Burt Grad, 2014.

Processing Information

Burt Grad, Carol Anne Ances, Doug Jerger and the SI SIG inventoried this collection and additional Burt Grad materials (see also X7213.2014) in December, 2008, as part of the donation process. Additionally, an item level listing of materials within folders of this collection was also provided (no author or date indicated). Both inventories were used during processing to restore original order, and descriptive information from the item-level inventory was included in catalog records where applicable.

Biographical/Historical Note

Burton (Burt) Grad was born in 1928 in Philadelphia, where his mother and her family had emigrated from the Ukraine in 1914. In 1932, Grad’s family moved from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., where he completed high school. He then received a Bachelor of Management Engineering degree from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York, in 1949.
Grad worked for General Electric (GE) from 1949 to 1960. He started in the Manufacturing Training Program, followed by a position in the Production Control department of the Large Steam Turbine Division. There, Grad used International Business Machines (IBM) punched card machines and plug boards to help set up manufacturing control applications. He went on to work with the Corporate Production Control Services department in New York City, where he programmed a Univac I computer for use at the Dishwasher and Disposal Department in Louisville, Kentucky. Grad also led a factory simulation project, designed the Productron computer, and helped a variety of GE manufacturing departments implement computer automation for production and inventory control.
Starting in late 1957, Grad started the Integrated Systems Project (ISP) which was aimed at automating the complete information flow in a factory. Initially the project was at the 39 Frame Motor plant in Ft. Wayne, Indiana where he developed the concept of decision tables, which was a method of documenting cause/effect logic. The Computer Usage Company (CUC) wrote a computer program called TABSOL for GE that would interpret and run the decision tables.
When the 39 Frame motor project was terminated for budget reasons, Grad was able to initiate an expanded ISP effort at a meter plant in Lynn, Massachusetts. The results demonstrated the potential to increase efficiency and profit margin for GE through both information and factory operation automation; however, upper management in GE was not prepared to build or restructure a plant based on the Integrated Systems Project approach or in permitting him to publish the study results. Quite frustrated, Grad left GE and went to work for IBM in 1960.
Shortly after Grad started with IBM he became a project manager in the Data Processing Division in White Plains, New York leading the Study Organization Plan (SOP) project. SOP was related to the ISP work, but was focused on a general approach to developing integrated information systems for any business. With IBM support, Management Systems was published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston in 1968 (authors: Thomas B. Glans, Burton Grad, David Holstein, William E. Myers, and Richard N. Schmidt).
Grad was the Data Processing Division’s representative on IBM’s three-member team that was part of the Unbundling Task Force; they were responsible for planning the announcement of separately priced software in 1969. The Data Processing Division was then made responsible for developing and marketing the application software products for mainframe computers and Grad was named as one of the directors of development for FICUT, one of four industry groups within the Data Processing Division (FICUT stood for financial, insurance, communications, utilities, transportation). Grad worked in software development in the Data Processing Division until the mid-1970s, when he moved to IBM Research where he arranged support for Harry Markowitz’s work on a simulation-related program called EAS-E and worked on providing a comprehensive survey of application development methodology programs and tools in IBM.
Starting in the early 1970s, Grad served as a representative for IBM at ADAPSO, the computer software and services trade association; he was active within the Software Industry Association section. Grad served on numerous committees at ADAPSO in the 1970s and 1980s, including the Technical Information Service Committee.
In 1978, Grad left IBM and started his own consulting firm, Burton Grad Associates, Inc. Leveraging the relationships with software companies that he had developed through ADAPSO, he helped clients with strategic planning, organizational consulting, due diligence studies, and valuation studies. In the 2000s, Grad’s consulting work slowed down and he spent more time in collecting and preserving software industry historical records for the Software History Center, which Luanne Johnson and he had co-founded in 2000. Grad then served as co-chair with Johnson of the Software Industry Special Interest Group (SI SIG) at the Computer History Museum. He currently lives in Westport, Connecticut.

Scope and Content of the Collection

The Burt Grad General Electric and IBM records consist of materials collected by Burt Grad during his career at General Electric and IBM from 1949-1978. The records include technical documentation of and research informing Grad’s work on specific projects at both companies, especially focused on factory automation and the integration of systems across departments in factories and offices. These projects include, but are not limited to, the Integrated Systems Project (ISP) at General Electric and the Study Organization Plan (SOP) at IBM.
The use of decision tables as a tool for both automation and system integration are well documented in this collection. Materials about software products such as TABSOL that were developed for automation of decision tables are also represented. Some materials pertain to the use of early computer hardware in factory settings, and early software development.
A significant amount of materials in the collection are technical notes and reports authored or co-authored by Grad. There are also correspondence, memoranda, and handwritten notes relating to the projects Grad was involved in. Some articles, manuals and promotional materials for software and hardware products are also in the collection.
The series are arranged in their original order. Folders within series are arranged chronologically except for subseries 3.1, which is arranged alphabetically.


The collection is arranged into 3 series:
Series 1, General Electric records, 1949-1962
Series 2, Special Projects, 1957-1977
Series 3, International Business Machines records, 1960-1978

Related Collections at CHM

Burton Grad and Associates, Inc. records, Lot X7213.2014, catalog number.
Grad, Burt (Burton) oral history : General Electric Years, Lot X4362.2008, catalog number 102702248.
Grad, Burt (Burton) oral history : International Business Machines (IBM), Lot X4362.2008, catalog number 102701925.
Grad, Burt (Burton) oral history : Burton Grad Associates, Inc., Lot X4362.2008, catalog number 102746731.
Grad, Burt (Burton) oral history : history and education, ADAPSO, Heights Information Technology Services, and Customer Care, Inc., Lot X4362.2008, catalog number 102701924
Grad, Burton and Hugh Williams oral history, Lot X4562.2008, catalog number 102658225.

Related Collections at Other Repositories

University of Minnesota, Charles Babbage Institute, Burt Grad IBM and ADAPSO materials. Unprocessed.

Subjects and Indexing Terms

Grad, Burton
Automation in manufacturing
Computer software--Development
Decision logic tables
General Electric Company
International Business Machines Corporation


General Electric records, Series 1,  1949-1962

Language of Material: English

Series Scope and Content

The materials in this series include documentation of Grad’s work at General Electric. Technical notes and reports (many authored by Grad), handwritten notes, correspondence, and product materials are represented in the collection. Examples of materials in this series include Grad’s recognition for a suggestion he made for making a rubber testing process more efficient when he was in the Manufacturing Training Program, materials relating to Grad’s work on automation of assignment vouchers to factory workers, more general automation of factory planning, scheduling, and manufacturing control, and the Integrated Systems Project (ISP). This series is arranged chronologically.

102726489 Suggestion acknowledgment re: valve test equipment 1949


102726487 The choice of lot inspection plans on the basis of cost 1949-03-12


102726488 A report on the control station in the Works Laboratory of the Bridgeport Works 1949-05-09


102726490 Overdue E-3 cage orders 1949-1950


102726486 Productron analog computer 1950; 1955; 1957; 1959


102726536 Personal folder 1951; 1954-1955; 1958-1960


102726491 The derivation and use of an economical order quantity formula 1953


102726534 Punched card stock control system for batch type operation 1953-12-22


102726493 Bin reserve 1954-03-11


102726492 Economic ordering quantity guide 1954-12


102726527 Ideas folder 1954; 1956-1957; 1959


102726483 Reference book on production control services projects 1954; 1957; 1959-1961


102726494 Transformer slitting problem 1955


102726496 Fiscal week dating plan using GE calendar 1955-03-31


102726495 The lowly voucher - dated and updated 1955-08-02


102726497 Warehouse stock reporting and analysis project 1955-12-22


102726498 Dynamic production scheduling 1955-04


102726502 Association Island : 1956 conference 1956


102726485 Warehouse stock control workshop report 1956-02-15


102726500 First Productron installation scheduled 1956-03


102726541 Memos from E.G. Cox to W.B. Pomeroy regarding warehouse inventory tape transactions 1956-04


102726501 Warehouse project : coding of transactions 1956-06-27


102726542 GE apparatus sales division registration form 1957


102726539 Inventory control via IDP 1957


102726504 Modern materials handling special report : how to plan receiving operations (parts 1 and 2) 1957


102726538 39 frame systems project IBM 1957-01-14


102726503 Production control information letter (pro & con features) 1957-1958; 1961


102726507 Abstract formulation of data processing problems 1958


102726537 An approach to operations structure 1958


102726505 Simulation project folder 1958


102726506 A standardized representation for business problems 1958-03


102726509 Operations research & synthesis : project report no. 70 : mechanized budget system 1958-06-01


102726508 Tempo report : characteristics of optimum inventory policies 1958-11-10


102726524 Information process analysis 1959


102726510 Engineering computer user symposium registrants 1959-05-19


102726517 Laminar bucket program : an application of logic table techniques 1959-09-21


102726512 General Electric parts list form 1959-10-06


102726519 Some factory aspects of warehousing : distribution systems project 1959-10-16


102726515 Clearinghouse report : medium transformer department computer applications 1959-12-01


102726516 Integrated Systems Project report : information process charting and physical operation flow charting 1959-12-31


102726518 TABSOL release folder 1959-1960


102726514 Documentation techniques survey 1959; 1961


102726532 Burt Grad resume (before IBM) ca. 1959


102726543 Design structure tables for SE incoming line switches 1960-01-04


102726520 Design structure tables for large steam turbine-generator laminar buckets 1960-01-04


102726484 The Integrated Systems Project at General Electric 1960-03-28


102726511 TABSOL printout 1960-08


102726526 GE 225 general compiler manual 1960-10


102726525 A test of alternative facility designs and operations by simulation 1961-03


102726513 GE 225 forward sort/merge generator manual : edition 1 1961-06


102726529 A general approach to information systems design 1962-08


102726530 Base data tables undated


102726528 Cost of processing an order undated


102726521 Design structure table for outdoor unit parts sheet undated


102726531 Industrial data accumulator (IDA) brochure undated


102726533 New System Laundry : an overview undated


102726540 Partial draft of document undated


102726499 Process analysis undated


102726535 Spindlemaster specifications undated


102726523 Work sheet : revision of (305-A4-PR-6214) remove ties - formvar prices - medium A.C. motor department undated


102726522 Work sheet : revision of Logtab (59LS23) illustrative example for machining buckets undated


Special projects, Series 2, 1957-1977

Language of Material: English

Series Scope and Content

The special projects series includes documentation of projects that Grad worked on at both General Electric and IBM: decision tables and integrated systems research. Both of these topics are represented elsewhere in the collection as well.


This series is arranged into two subseries:
Subseries 2.1, Decision tables, 1959-1977
Subseries 2.2, Automated factory design project, 1957-1966, bulk 1957-1963

Decision Tables, Subseries 2.1, 1959-1977

Subseries Scope and Content

The decision tables subseries consists of instructional manuals, technical reports and notes, and information about computer applications developed to automate decision tables. Decision Tables are a method of analyzing and documenting decision rules that Grad developed while at GE. Similar tables were developed by others, and Grad documented his own ideas, practices, and development of software as well as collected related work by others. This subseries also includes significant documentation of TABSOL, a program developed by the Computer Usage Company (CUC) in the 1960s with assistance from Grad. This subseries is arranged chronologically.The decision tables subseries consists of instructional manuals, technical reports and notes, and information about computer applications developed to automate decision tables. Decision Tables are a method of analyzing and documenting decision rules that Grad developed while at GE. Similar tables were developed by others, and Grad documented his own ideas, practices, and development of software as well as collected related work by others. This subseries also includes significant documentation of TABSOL, a program developed by the Computer Usage Company (CUC) in the 1960s with assistance from Grad. This subseries is arranged chronologically.

102726544 LOGTAB : a logic table technique 1959-03-10


102726545 Integrated Systems Project report : TABSOL : a generalized solution to programming decision systems 1959-03-21


102726548 Preliminary approach to tabular programming 1960-10


102726546 TABSOL : a fundamental concept for systems-oriented languages 1960-12-14


102726577 Reference book on decision logic and other topics 1960-1962


102726576 Decision Tables folder 1960-1962; 1972


102726579 1401 T.P. implementation manual draft 1961


102726580 Reference book : tabular techniques development #1-4 1961


102726581 Tabular techniques development #1 and #2 1961


102726557 Tabular techniques development #5 and #6 1961


102726547 Systems engineering services clearinghouse report : preliminary reference manual draft TABSOL - 225 1961-02-01


102726549 United systems approach clearinghouse report : tabular techniques reference manual 1961-02-08


102726550 GE 225 TABSOL manual (preliminary) 1961-03


102726551 Tables signal better communication 1961-06-01


102726552 Tabular techniques development distribution #3 report 1961-06-23


102726553 Systems engineering services clearinghouse report : tabular form in decision logic 1961-07-01


102726554 Systems engineering services clearinghouse report : Decision Tables : a preliminary reference manual 1961-09


102726555 Systems engineering services : preliminary manual : 1401 tabular programming system 1961-10-15


102726556 GE 225 LJED TABSOL system 1961-11


102726558 1401 tabular programming system evaluation program 1961-11-06


102726575 Automated decision making clearinghouse 1961-12-15


102726565 IBM data processing techniques : Decision Tables : a systems analysis and documentation technique 1962


102726559 Systems engineering services : tabular descriptive language : draft and preliminary languages 1962-01


102726560 IBM technical report : tables, flow charts, and program logic 1962-02-26


102726561 Decision Tables training manual 1962-03


102726562 Systems engineering services : preliminary manual : 7080 decision table system 1962-04-10


102726563 An introduction to the decision logic table technique 1962-07-10


102726564 Preliminary manual : 1090 Fortran decision table system 1962-07-15


102726567 IBM Decision Tables : practice problems & solutions (education planning booklet) 1963


102726566 Decision table tutorial using DETAB-X 1963-03


102726568 Conversion of limited-entry decision tables to computer programs 1964-05


102726578 DETAB/65 folder 1965


102726569 System development corporation tech memo re : Decision Tables : an annotated bibliography abstract 1965-04-12


102726570 Decision Tables folder 1967-1968


102726587 Decision Table usage in the systems & procedures function 1968-10-21


102726571 Burt Grad memo to J.T. Griffin re: using Decision Tables 1973


102726572 Decision Tables folder 1971; 1974


102726574 The dark side of structured programming 1975-11


102726573 Decision Tables : Glans folder 1977


102726585 Chapter 5 : integrating Decision Tables into a system undated


102726584 IBM Decision Table coding sheets undated


102726586 IBM application program : IBM 1401 decision logic translator (1401-SE-05X) application description undated


102726583 IBM application program : IBM 1401 decision logic translator (1401-SE-05X) program reference manual undated


102726582 Report : define meaning of a table, major characteristics of condition area and condition area algorithms undated


Automated factory design project, Subseries 2.2, Bulk, 1957-1963 1957-1966

Language of Material: English

Subseries Scope and Content

This subseries is primarily focused on integrated systems work that Grad did at both GE and IBM. It contains technical notes and papers, the majority of which are authored or co-authored by Grad. See also Series 1: “General Electric records” for additional materials regarding factory automation and the Integrated Systems Project. This subseries is arranged chronologically.

102726592 Information process charting 1957-03-15


102726593 Summary report : 39 frame systems project 1957-03-15


102726595 Integrated Systems Project : main line to profit 1958


102726597 Integrated Systems Project 1958-01-02


102726594 Report on second systems design meeting 1958-03-18


102726598 Requisition edit sheet : Integrated Systems Project 1958-08-22


102726596 General engineering laboratory : the integrated engineering information system 1958-12-23


102726603 Fourth progress report on the Integrated Systems Project 1959-04


102726602 Report : regeneration : an advanced concept for information systems design 1959-12-01


102726601 Conference paper : a systems approach to integrated systems planning 1960-02-01


102726600 The Integrated System Project at General Electric 1960-03-31


102726588 Automated Design Engineering documents 1961-1962


102726604 Automated Design Engineering project plan 1962-03-12


102726589 Present business description : an automated design engineering study for Leeds & Northrup Company 1962-05-01


102726590 Reference manual : the survey and implementation of an Automated Design Engineering system 1963


102726599 The concept and use of Decision Tables in engineering applications 1963-08-07


102726591 Automated planning of manufacturing operations 1966-05


International Business Machine records, Series 3, 1960-1978

Series Scope and Content

This series contains records from Grad’s work at IBM. It contains selected correspondence, technical reports, and other materials from Grad’s time working in the Data Processing Division and in IBM Research; it also contains technical reports and presentation materials for the Study Organization Plan (SOP), and loose documents that were not inventoried during the donation process but were found in the collection.


This series is arranged into three subseries:
Subseries 3.1, IBM Research, 1962-1978, bulk 1972-1978
Subseries 3.2, Study Organization Plan, 1960-1975, bulk 1961-1963
Subseries 3.3, General, 1960-1977

IBM Research, Subseries 3.1, Bulk, 1972-1978 1962-1978

Language of Material: English

Subseries Scope and Content

This subseries contains select materials pertaining to Grad’s time working in IBM Research. Highlights include documentation of trips that Grad took (to the Soviet Union and the IBM Research in California) and Grad’s work on Application System Development Methodology (ASDM). This subseries is arranged alphabetically by folder title.

102726617 Application system development method (ASDM) : common support systems folder 1977-1978


102726622 Application system development method (ASDM) : DPD/WT-EMEA strategy plans folder 1977-1978


102726618 Application system development method (ASDM) : EAS-E folder 1962; 1977


102726621 Application system development method (ASDM) : IBM meeting 1977


102726620 Application system development method (ASDM) : study of applications development technology 1978-09-22


102726619 Application system development method (ASDM) : technical workshop folder 1977


102726607 Applications directions '77 : scientific computing marketing handbook 1977-05


102726605 Computer services department : 1975-1976 report 1976-10-20


102726611 General marketing guidelines 1977-08


102726606 IBM Research : West Coast trip folder 1977


102726608 IBM Research folder 1975-1977


102726613 IBM Research report : a system for the automation of almost-routine functions 1977-03-14


102726616 Interactive programming/CMS aids folder 1977


102726615 National computer conference folder 1976


102726614 Office systems simulation folder 1972; 1974; 1977


102726609 Soviet trip folder 1974; 1976-1977


102726612 Speech filing system folder 1976-1977


102726610 Unified systems of computers undated


Study Organization Plan, Subseries 3.2, Bulk, 1961-1963 1960-1975

Language of Material: English

Subseries Scope and Content

This subseries contains primarily technical reports and notes from Grad’s Study Organization Plan (SOP) project at IBM. This project built on Grad’s work on integrated systems, but was generalized for any kind of business rather than specific to manufacturing. Grad assembled and led a team that included Tom Glans, David Holstein, and Lee Baker, who are represented as authors in this subseries. This subseries is arranged chronologically.

102726625 Reference book : Study Organization Plan 1960


102726623 Reference book : Study Organization Plan 1961


102726630 Hughes El Segundo - IBM systems study preliminary report 1961-04-10


102726624 Reference book : Study Organization Plan 1961-1962


102726626 IBM data processing techniques : study : IBM Study Organization Plan : the approach 1963


102726627 IBM data processing techniques documents 1963


102726628 Study Organization Plan presentations 1963


102726631 Promotional materials for Management Systems book 1968-1969


102726629 Business systems folder 1975


General, Subseries 3.3, 1960-1977

Language of Material: English

Subseries Scope and Content

This is a miscellaneous series containing technical reports, manuals and promotional materials for IBM products, correspondence and notes. Some of the materials in this subseries were found in the collection, but not represented in the item-level inventory that was created during the donation process. This subseries is arranged chronologically.

102726634 Representation of an industrial processing system folder 1960


102726632 The "explosion" operator as used in production control 1960-05-15


102726640 IBM : general information manual : advanced analysis method for integrated electronic data processing ca. 1960


102726633 IBM personal folder 1962; 1964


102726638 Judicial administration and the computer 1969-11


102726639 IBM application brief : lawyers co-operative publishing company data entry and text processing using the System/360 text processor - PAGINATION/360 and Administrative Terminal System (ATS) 1971-05


102726644 IBM program product : Storage And Information Retrieval System (STAIRS/VS), general information 1973-06


102726643 IBM program product : Interactive Training System general information manual 1973-09


102726635 Deposition re: Symbolic Control, Inc. vs. IBM 1973-1974


102726642 IBM program product : Advanced Text Management System (ATMS) general information manual 1974-10


102726636 The United States House of Representatives computer-based bill status system 1975-06


102726641 Public computer news - flyer for Comput-O-Mat Systems 1976


102726646 IBM organizational chart - scientific computing 1977-04-01


102726645 Sun network (chart) 1977-04-15


102726637 Program for IBM offices of the future symposium 1977-10