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FIELDATA (also written as Fieldata) was a pioneering computer project run by the US Army Signal Corps in the late 1950s that intended to create a single standard (as defined in MIL-STD-188A/B/C) for collecting and distributing battlefield information. In this respect it could be thought of as a generalization of the US Air Force's SAGE system that was being created at about the same time.

Unlike SAGE, FIELDATA was intended to be much larger in scope, allowing information to be gathered from any number of sources and forms. Much of the FIELDATA system was the specifications for the format the data would take, leading to a that would be a huge influence on a few years later. FIELDATA also specified the message formats and even the electrical standards for connecting FIELDATA-standard machines together.

Another part of the FIELDATA project was the design and construction of computers at several different scales, from data-input terminals at one end, to theatre-wide data processing centers at the other. Several FIELDATA-standard computers were built during the lifetime of the project, including the transportable from Sylvania, and the and from . Another system, , was intended to provide graphical output (in the form of photographic slides), but was never completed.

Because FIELDATA did not specify codes for interconnection and data transmission control, different systems (like " STANDARD FORM", " COMLOGNET Common language code", " SACCOMNET (465L) Control Code"

(1968). 9780672206788, Howard W. Sams and Co.. .
) used different control functions. Intercommunication between them was difficult.

FIELDATA is the original character set used internally in computers of the 1100 series, represented by the sixth of the 36-bit word of that computer. The direct successor to the UNIVAC 1100 is the 2200 series computers, which use FIELDATA to this day (although is now also common with each character encoded in 1/4 of a word, or 9 bits). Because some of the FIELDATA characters are not represented in ASCII, the Unisys 2200 uses '^', '"' and '_' characters for codes 004, 076oct and 077oct respectively.

The FIELDATA project ran from 1956 until it was stopped during a reorganization in 1962.

FIELDATA characters

The first two rows of the supervisory code are not used in all applications, only where "alphabetic supervisory information" is required. COMLOGNET omits them, while SACCOMNET includes additional control characters in place of the supervisory letters.
Graphical in COMLOGNET variant.
Dial 1 (D1)
Dial 2 (D2)
Graphical in COMLOGNET variant.
Dial 6 (D6)
Dial 7 (D7)
Graphical in COMLOGNET variant.
Start of Control Block (SCB, SOC)
Start of Block (SBK, SOB)
Spare, SOD
Ordered ISN, NISN, CWF, Spare in some variants.
Interpret Sign (INS, ISN)
Non-Interpret Sign (NIS, NISN)
Control Word Follows (CWF)
& in UNIVAC.
% in UNIVAC.

The code version used on the UNIVAC was based on the second half (primary code) of the military version with some changes.

Sometimes switched with Δ
Line Feed (LF) on 1107 and 1108
Carriage Return (CR) on 1107 and 1108
Changed from _ in military version.
Changed from " in military version.
Stop sign (🛑) on 1107 and 1108
Idle character (IDLE) on some models

Character map

Military version
The following table is representative of a reference version of the military set, as described in . Various other variants exist, with in some cases dramatic differences in the supervisory code (the first four rows 0-3). The letters in the first two rows are intended for use in "alphabetic supervisory information".

UNIVAC version
The code version used on the UNIVAC was based on the second half (6-bit primary code) of the military version with some changes.


References and further reading

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