Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
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built (by hand) from tiny rings of magnetisable material
threaded onto very fine wire to form large (e.g. 13"x13" or
more) rectangluar arrays. Each core stored one bit
Sets of wires ran horizontally and vertically and where a
vertical and horizontal wire crossed, a core had both wires
threaded through it.
A single core could be selected and magnetised by passing
sufficient current through its horizontal and vertical wires.
A core would retain its magnetisation until it was
re-magnetised. The two possible polarities of magnetisation
were used to represent the binary values zero and one.
A third "sense" wire, passed through the core and, if the
magnetisation of the core was changed, a small pulse would be
induced in the sense wire which could be detected and used to
deduce the core's original state.
Some core memory was immersed in a bath of heated oil to
improve its performance.
For example, the 1970s-era NCR 499
had two boards, each with