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Com-Share Building Computer Center In Research Park

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Corn-Share Building Computer Center In Research Park

Corn-Share, Inc., nationwide time sharing computer service firm, has begun construction of a large computer center in Greater Ann Arbor Research Park.

The 16,000-square-foot building, scheduled for completion early this spring, is designed to house up to 10 time-sharing computer systems and an advanced research computer. Architects for the building, expected to cost about $500,000, are William S. Hobbs & Associates. The contractor is R. T. Mitchell Construction Co. in conjunction with Commercial Development, Inc.

The facility will consolidate Com-Share's midwestern and mideastern operations. The company believes this will result in lower operating costs, greater control over computer operations, and increased system reliability and efficiency.

The new center marks a significant step in Corn-Share’s growth. The company, which began with one computer center in Ann Arbor in 1966 now runs two time-sharing centers in New Jersey and another in Chicago, in addition to the Ann Arbor center. A total of six computer systems are used at the four locations, with another scheduled for delivery to the new center.

Prior to the decision to locate a centralized computer facility in Ann Arbor, several alternative sites were evaluated. The selection of Ann Arbor was based on its strategic location, the ready supply of services in the area and the availability of trained technical personnel. Corn-Share presently employs about 100 people in the Ann Arbor area and almost another 100 at sales offices across the country.

Corn-Share's future plans include building administrative offices to adjoin the computer site. At present, the company’s corporate and divisional activities are administered from four different locations in Ann Arbor. Regional I and district sales offices are maintained in major metropolitan areas from Boston to San Francisco.

The new computer installation in Ann Arbor will also serve as headquarters for Com-Share’s advanced research program. The company recently unveiled plans to begin development of a larger and more powerful time-sharing system. The computer chosen for this effort, a Scientific Data Systems Sigma 7, will be delivered in early 1969. Com-Share presently uses SDS 940 computers for its time-sharing system. By beginning now to develop a system for the future, Corn-Share will maintain its position of technological leadership in the time-sharing industry, according to company spokesmen.

The combination of Com-Share’s technological capabilities and recent developments in communications equipment were the major factors in Com-Share’s decision to centralize its operations. Until now, timesharing computer companies were committed to establishing centers in many cities throughout the country in order to provide economical, local service to their customers. Com-Share, however, is now able to provide local “dial up” service to customers located thousands of miles from a computer center.

Among the other developments that make the large, multiple-computer installation attractive and reverse the trend toward scattered centers is Com-Share’s recent development of the ability to link computers. This feature, which the company terms Com-Link, enables data to be transferred from one machine to another anywhere in the Com-Share network.