Charles Babbage Institute: The Computing Industry in Minnesota > A-B
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota

Minnesota Computing Companies


CAD/CAM Technologies, Inc. (established 1982)

Call-A-Computer, Inc. (established 1966)

Cardinal Health Care Systems, Inc. (established 1984)

Ceridian Corporation (established 1992)

Ceridian is a leading information services company that serves the human resources, transportation and media markets. Ceridian’s progress has been noteworthy since it emerged from the reshaping of Control Data Corporation in 1992.  It headquarters are located at 3311 E. Old Shakopee Road, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The company’s human resources businesses include:

Ceridian Benefits Services, a provider of comprehensive benefits, administration and retirement plans services
Ceridian Employer Services, a provider of human resource management systems and payroll and tax filing services 
Ceridian Performance Partners, a provider of fully integrated workplace effectiveness solutions 
Centrefile, a provider of payroll and human resources management solutions in the United Kingdom
Usertech, a provider of computer user training and performance support programs 
Ceridian’s businesses also include: 
Comdata, which provides transaction processing and information services to the transportation and other industries
Arbitron, a research company serving the media industry
See also: Control Data Corporation and Control Data Systems
Ceridian Corporation company web site, September 2000. 

CIMCORP Precision Systems (established 1962)

Clear with Computers (established in 1983)

Founded in 1983, Clear with Computers (CWC) is headquartered at 1983 Premier Drive, Mankato, Minnesota. CWC's software products help sales representatives sell more effectively while they're with their customers. More than 150,000 sales representatives from 40 global blue chip companies say it's the most important software on their mobile computers.  The privately held company's customers include General Motors, Renault, Freightliner, Volvo, DAF, Ingersoll-Rand, and Carrier. Clear with Computers management includes Klaus Besier as Chief Executive Office and Jerry Johnson as Chairman.

ColorSpan Corporation (established 1985)

Previously known as LaserMaster Corporation, the ColorSpan Corporation headquarters occupies several buildings at 6900 Shady Oak Road, Eden Prairie, Minnesota. ColorSpan develops and manufactures high-performance printing products for publishing, prepress, graphic arts, photographic, and business professionals. ColorSpan is an industry-leading provider of technology in the digital printing and prepress industries, particularly wide-format, on-demand digital color printing. 

ColorSpan Corporation company web site, October 2000

Comcet (established 1968)

Community Electronics

Computer Aid, Inc. (established 1981)

Computer Aid, Inc., (CAI) was founded in 1981 to provide information services to organizations of all sizes. They have developed processes and procedures, based on the construction industry’s project management techniques, which allow fixed price projects when designs are agreed upon. Based on the constructs of the Construction Management methodology, CAI developed its Managed Maintenance methodology in 1987 to provide guaranteed service levels and cost-reductions resulting from well-managed application support process.

CAI’s first Service Delivery Center (SDC) was staffed in the late-80s. The introduction of the SDC gave CAI the competitive advantage for providing off-site support to clients and providing easy access to a "virtual staff" that can expand and contract as necessary.

CAI’s Desktop Services practice was founded in late 1992 in response to clients' and the industry's growing requirements for high quality, cost-effective desktop support solutions based on utilizing a systematic, process-driven approach.

Computer Aid, Inc., company web site, September 2000

Computer Network Technology Corporation (established 1979)
Computer Network Technology Corporation (CNT) is headquartered at 6000 Nathan Lane North, Plymouth, Minnesota.  CNT also has product development and manufacturing operations in both Minneapolis and Westborough, Massachusetts. The company has more than 500 employees, 4 international operating subsidiaries, one joint venture, over 20 international distributors and customers in 30 countries.

CNT is a specialist in high-performance storage area networking (SAN) and enterprise application integration (EAI) solutions. CNT hardware, software, and services are relied on by businesses around the world to integrate large-scale mission-critical applications and storage environments.

CNT was founded in 1983 and became a public corporation in November 1985. It is listed on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol CMNT. CNT products and solutions support many of the world's largest data centers, such as those at NationsBank, General Electric, Boeing, the U.S. Department of Defense, GTE, U.S. Bancorp and MCI WorldCom. CNT provides interfaces to over 150 devices, connectors and LAN/WAN protocols.

Computer Network Technology Corporation chronology

1980's The company focused on channel extension and providing connectivity across long distances and diverse devices. This enabled companies to locate data centers and users where it maked business sense, not where technical limitations dictated. 

1994 CNT acquired Brixton Systems, a software company focused on the client/server market, with products connecting desktop computers to enterprise networks. For companies moving from 'dumb' terminals to PCs, this technology provided connectivity between SNA and TCP/IP technologies, allowing both mainframes and open systems to continue sharing information. 

1997 CNT acquired the Internet Solutions Division of Apertus Technologies.

1998 CNT acquired IntelliFrame Corporation, provided additional expertise in enterprise connectivity. 

SG Cowen Analyst touted CNT and SAN technology on CNBC Analyst.  SG Cowen reported CNT a "strong buy" in the December 1998 issue of Buyside.

1999 CNT created Solutions Lab to test storage networking interoperability with industry partners. CNT signed reseller agreement with BROCADE for Fibre Channel Switch. CNT launched internal Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Program. 

On January 4, 1999, CNT launched an internal enterprise resource planning system that is fully compliant with Year 2000 and Euro currency needs. The business process improvement provided by this new information technology structure will support CNT's growth into the next century. 

Christopher Stix of SG Cowen reiterated a "strong buy" recommendation for CNT stock in a televised appearance on the CNBC network, as covered in the March 11, 1999 issue of Profits Journal's Weekly News.

In March 1999, CNT introduced UltraNet Open Systems Gateway. CNT signed Premier Sofware Alliance agreement with Siebel Systems for real-time information access.

During April 1999, CNT introduced Fibre Channel to SCSI conversion on its UltraNet product line. CNT Enterprise/Access software became part of Deloitte Consulting's CRM practice.

In May 1999, CNT tested and validated Fibre Channel and SCSI connections for SAN solutions with SCH Technologies. CNT began offering SAN Assessment services for open architectures. CNT strengthened its partnership with EMC through professional services and linked customer support.

In June 1999, CNT debuted Enterprise/Access 2000, ideal for EAI applications like e-commerce. CNT formed alliance with PricewaterhouseCoopers. CNT "Argues the Approaches to EAI" at DCI's EAI conference, Boston. CNT, BROCADE and Legato spoke on "SAN over WAN" at Network Storage '99, Montery, CA.

In October 1999, CNT became the first in the industry to extend Fibre Channel over long-distances using ATM connections. CNT signed $11 million agreement with Compaq for the resale of CNT's UltraNet technology.

During November 1999, CNT completed stage one of move to new corporate headquarters CNT and  CNT signed a three-year reseller agreement to provide STK with CNT wide area networking products. CNT spoke on "SAN over WAN" at the Fibre Channel Technologies Conference, San Jose, California.

2000 CNT became the first to enable shared storage for the AS/400 market via the UltraNet Open Systems Router CNT provided the industry's first scalable support for Fibre Channel over multiple wide area connections CNT won"CRM Excellence" award from Call Center Solutions CNT first to enable Fibre Channel and SCSI over IP, extending its support of storage applications over IP. 

In March 2000, CNT appointed its first Chief Information Officer (CIO), Barbara Schmit 

In February 2000, CNT introduced I-Stor and was first to support the Internet Protocol (IP), enabling data replication over IP with EMC's SRDF CNT's Enterprise/Access reported as the bridge between "e-business and the business" by IDC

Computer Network Technology Corporation company web site, October 2000.

Computer Systems, Inc. (established 1966)

Computer Terminals, Inc. (established  1969)

Comserv (established 1968; ceased 1986)

Acquired by Management Science America of Atlanta, Georgia, in 1986. 
Comten (established in 1968; ceased 1979) 
Purchased by National Cash Register in 1979.
Comtrol Corporation (established 1982)
Comtrol Corporation, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is a leading developer and marketer of serial data communications, enterprise systems integration and thin-server technology solutions for office, retail, hospitality and industrial automation. Comtrol's products are designed for small/medium enterprises, government organizations, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs). Comtrol has 110 employees worldwide. 

1982 Comtrol developed the industry's first serial multiport card for personal computers, which today ranks near the top of this industry. 

1995 Comtrol launched its flagship RocketPort™ serial concentrator, which uses a Comtrol-developed RISC processor to minimize CPU overhead and maximize ease-of-use and application software compatibility. RocketPort established a new price/performance benchmark in the industry — one that has rarely been challenged. 

Comtrol Corporation company web site, October 2000

Connect Computer (established 1986)

Control Data Corporation (established in 1957; ceased 1992)

Strutwear Building
Strutwear Building,
1015 S. 4th St. Minneapolis.
Site of the design and
development of the 6600 system
headed by Seymour Cray prior to
move to Chippewa Falls, WI (1961).

The Control Data Corporation (CDC) was perhaps the largest computer company in Minnesota by number of employees and annual revenues. Founded in 1957, CDC was led by William C. Norris who left Sperry Univac to form a new computer company. CDC grew rapidly, producing some of the fastest computers of their day thanks largely to the work of Seymour Cray. In 1991, Control Data closed its archives and donated the collection to the Charles Babbage Institute.

Control Data Corporation chronology

1957 Company incorporated in Minnesota (July 8) Headquarters at 501 Park, Minneapolis. Acquires Cedar Engineering.

1958 CDC's "Little Character," 1/10-scale prototype of 1604, is operational. The first order for 1604 computer is placed. Sperry Rand sues CDC.

1959 CDC Delivers air traffic control display.

1960 CDC Acquires Control Corporation. The 1604 and 160 computers are delivered. The first CDC data center is established in Minneapolis.

1961 The 160A is delivered and the 924 is delivered. A new computing center was  established in San Francisco. $5 million contract for fire control computer for Polaris Submarines. Net sales from annual report = $19,783,745.

1962 The company moves to new a headquarters building in Bloomington, Minnesota. The European office opens in Lucerne, Switzerland. The Polaris computer, the 606 tape transport, and the 166 line printer are delivered. The Sperry Rand lawsuit settles out of court.

1963 The 3600 computer, 603 tape drive, and the 405 card reader are delivered. CDC acquires the Computer Division of Bendix Corporation; Beck's, Inc.; Digigraphic Systems of Itek; and Control Systems Division of Daystrom.

1964 CDC acquires Rabinow Engineering; Transacter business (General Time); Holley Computer Products; Bridge, Inc;, Computer Laboratories, Inc.; Adcomp Corporation; and TRG, Inc.

1965 3100, 6600 delivered Acquired Data Display, Datatrol, Computech, Glenn W. Preston Associates Production of 160-A and 1604A ceased. Control Data Institutes established. Net sales from annual report equal $16,473,162.

1966 The 1700, 3800, and 6400 are delivered. CDC gains a $22.7 million contract from United States Post Office for the Postal Source Data System. Frank Mullaney leaves company. 

1967 the 6500 computer delivered. The first foreign Control Data Institute established in Frankfurt. CDC acquired Autocon Industries; C-E-I-R, Inc.; and  Automatic Control Company 

1968 CDC acquired Commercial Credit Corporation. Cybernet communications network are established. The 449-2 Special Miniature Computer, 200 Remote User Terminal, and the SCOPE operating system are delivered.  An antitrust lawsuit is filed against International Business Machines (IBM).

1969 The 3500 and 7600 computers are delivered. CDC acquires Computing Devices of Canada; Precision Data Card; Marshall Communications; Printed Circuits, Inc.; and American Business Systems, Inc. CDC acquires partial interest in Ticketron. 

1970 Hardware, software, and service prices are unbundled. KRONOS 1.0 operating system offered. Star 100 announced. 3170, 6200, 6700 computers delivered. 

1971 The 921 Optical Character Reading machine and the Cyber 70 are delivered. 

1972 CDC creates a Committee for Social Responsibility.  CDC acquired Syntonic Technology. National Cash REgister (NCR) and CDC establish Computer Peripherals, Inc.
1973 International Business Machines settles with CDC and acquires Service Bureau Corporation as part of settlement. CDC acquires the data services operation from ITT; System Resources; and renames interest in Ticketron. Peripheral Products offers low-cost disk drives. CDC signs a 10-year cooperation agreement with the Soviet Union. Seymor Cray leaves CDC to form Cray Research. 

1974 The old CDC logo is retired. CDC acquires Credit Francaise; First Holding, Ltd.; and Davidsohn Computer Services. The Star 100 is delivered to Lawrence Livermore. 

1975 Technotec data service is established. CDC and Honeywell form Magnetic Peripherals, Inc. CDC acquires Medlab Computer Services and Compu-Net, Inc. 

1976 The 38500 Mass Storage System delivered and the  PLATO computer-based education system announced. Control Dataset, Ltd., is formed with ICL. Computer Terminals of Iran formed with Iranian Government. 

1977 First dividend on CDC common stock declared. Company published its statement on Social Justice. PLATO Systems are implemented at all domestic Control Data Institutes.

1978 Control Data Institutes and learning centers number 69 worldwide. City Venture Corporation formed. William C. Norris named "Upper Midwest Executive of the Year" by Corporate Report. 

1980 Cyber 203 and 205 are delivered. Control Data Properties is formed. 

1981 The 110 microcomputer is announced. Net sales from annual report equals $3,101,300,000 

1982 CDC acquires Computer Industries Corporation. Control Data is one of 15 companies establishing the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation in Austin, Texas. 

1983 CDC Acquires Medix Schools. The 14" OEM Winchester Drive announced. ETA Systems, Inc. is established, and CDC embarks on a joint project with National Cash Register (NCR) to open a CAD center in Santa Clara, California.

1984 CDC Announces plans to phase out its plug compatible-peripheral equipment business and considers sale of Commercial Credit. They acquire Communications Solutions, Inc.

1985 CDC sells Syntonic, Electronic Realty Associates, Commtrak, and Landmark Graphics. 

1986 William C. Norris retires and Robert Price named CEO. CDC sells Communications Solutions, Inc.; Trinet; Burke Marketing; Multi-Arc; stock in Centronics; and its majority portion of Commercial Credit. 

1987 CDC sold its remaining interest in Commercial Credit Corporation; it  also acquires SAMI/Burke and remaining interest in VTC, Inc. 

1988 The Data Storage Products group is reorganized under Imprimis Technology, Inc. CDC acquires 20% interest in Silicon Graphics. 

1989 Robert Price retires and Lawrence Perlman named CEO. CDC sells VTC,  Imprimis, and PLATO. Control Data Institutes in the United States are spun off from the company. ETA Systems closed at a $490 million write-off. 

1991 Portion of CDC's corporate archives is donated to CBI. CDC acquires MiniData Services, Hazelden Employee Assistance Services, and Barrios Technology. 

1992 Control Data Corporation is divided into Ceridian Corporation and Control Data Systems, Inc.

1999 Control Data Systems, Inc., was acquired by Syntegra in September 1999 and as of 1 December 1999 it has operated under the Syntegra brand.

See also:  Control Data Systems, Ceridian, and Syntegra

CDC 6600 at the University of Minnesota
CDC 6600 at the University of Minnesota
Computer Center (Sept. 27, 1967

CDC 1604 Serial 1 and Seymour Cray
Control Data Corporation 1604 (serial 1) with Seymour Cray at the helm. Just prior to departure in 1959 from Minneapolis for installation in the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, Calif. (donated by Henry S. Forrest).

CDC 6600
Control Data Corporation 6600, circa 1965.

Announcement Dates of Control Data Computers in Chronological Order


    1604 April 1958


    160 December 1959


    160-A April 1961


    1604-A May 1962
    3600 May 1962
    6600 July 1962
    3200 September 1962


    3400 January 1964
    3100 October 1964
    6400 December 1964


    1700 October 1965
    3300 November 1965
    3500 November 1965


    6500 March 1967


    7600 December 1968


    Star 100 September 1970


    Cyber 70 Series March 1971


    Cyber 170 Series April 1974


    Cyber 170 Series 700 April 1979


    Cyber 203 January 1980
    Cyber 205 June 1980


    Cyber 170 Series 800 April 1982

Control Data Systems (established 1992; ceased 1999)

Control Data Systems was headquartered in Arden Hills, Minnesota.  Control Data Systems had revenues of $180 million in 1998 and employed 1,100 employees in the U.S., Asia and Europe, with 75 percent of them located in the U.S.

July 1, 1999  Syntegra, the systems integrator owned by British Telecommunications PLC (BT) paid US$340 million to acquire Control Data Systems Inc., a Minnesota-based company that provides systems integration and electronic-commerce outsourcing services.

"Syntegra is attempting to dramatically grow their integration business, and this establishes a major presence in the U.S. This will expand both our presences in Asia and, of course, will dramatically grow our presence in Europe," said James Ousley, president and chief executive officer of Control Data.

Syntegra is acquiring Control Data's technology, employees and customer base, Ousley said, adding that there will be no layoffs or major restructuring as a result of the merger. However, Control Data is expected to have a new name and branding strategy in place by the end of this year, he added.

December 1, 1999 Control Data Systems, Inc. changed its name to Syntegra. The name change is the first visible sign of Control Data Systems' integration into Syntegra's global operation. 

Control Data  Systems, Inc. management

  • James Ousley, previously president and chief executive officer of Control Data Systems, is now a member of the Syntegra Global Executive. 
  • Bill Halbert, managing director of Syntegra
  • Alfred Mockett, president of BT Worldwide 
  • Control Data Systems principal shareholder is Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, a US private equity firm specializing in investments in the information technology, telecommunications and healthcare industries. 
See also:  Control Data Corporation, Ceridian, and Syntegra

British Telecommunications PLC, London, news release, July 1, 1999
"Control Data Systems, Inc., Renamed Syntegra," Business Wire. London, United Kingdom, (December 1, 1999)

CPT (established 1971)

CPT 8000 Word Processor

CPT 8000 Word Processor


Cray Research (established 1972; ceased 1996)


Cray Research, Inc., chronology

1972 Cray Research, Inc. (CRI) formed; CRI has 12 employees by year end.

1974 Control Data Corporation (CDC) closed its laboratory in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.

1975 The CRAY-1 computer system announced.

1976 The first CRAY-1 shipped to Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory for trial period; CRI makes public stock offering at $16.50/share; National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) orders first CRI computer; and software group formed in Bloomington, Minnesota.

1977 The first CRI auto vectorizing Fortran compiler introduced. CRI becomes profitable with sale of CRAY-1 to NCAR.  CRI has 200 employees by year end.

1978 First release of Cray Operating System (COS). The 27th Mersenne prime number found by CRI mathematician David Slowinski.

1979 The CRAY-1 S computer system announced, which used I/0 Subsystem (IOS).

1980 CRI stock reached $100 per share and the stock moved to New York Stock Exchange. The 25th machine shipped.

1981 Fluorocarbon technology for CRAY-2 is disclosed. Seymour R. Cray became independent contractor. CRI has over 1,000 employees worldwide and over $100 million in revenue.

1982 The CRAY X-MP and Solid-state Storage Device (SSD) are announced. The "Cray style statement" formulated. The CRAY-1 M computer system announced.

1983 The 28th and 29th Mersenne prime numbers found by David Slowinski. 

1984 THE UNICOS, based on AT&T UNIX, is announced as a future operating system. CRI has over 2000 employees worldwide and over $200M revenue.

1985 The 100th CRI computer system shipped and the CRAY-2 announced. The 30th Mersenne prime number is discovered by Chevron programmers using CRAY X-MP. CRI has over 3000 employees worldwide; over $300M revenue 

1990 An 8-processsor CRAY-2 is delivered to Cray Computer Corporation and the first air-cooled CRI computer Supertek is purchased by CRI. The CRAY Y-MP 2E and the CRAY XMS areannounced. CRI Park opened in Eagan, Minnesota. 

1991 The 100th CRAY Y-MP is shipped and UNICOS 6.0 is released. The CRAY Y-MP EL and CRAY Y-MP C90 are announced. Cray Research, Inc. acquired Floating Point Systems assets and personnel.

1992 Digital Equipment Corporation markets CRAY Y-MP EL system. Sun Microsystems and CRI announce collaborative effort. Meanwhile, CRI signs three CRADA agreements with Los Alamos National Laboratory. CRI massively parallel program selected for DARPA research initiative. AEA Technology, Harwell Laboratory discovers 32nd Mersenne prime using a CRAY-2. CRI announces the large memory CRAY Y-MP M90 System and the first CRAY S-MP Superserver introduced.

1996 Cray Research, Inc. was bought out by Silicon Graphics in February 1996.

Cray Research Facts


Source: Cray Research, Inc.

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