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Annálar 1981 - 1990


  • 1982
  • Í vélasal Skýrr eru komnar tvær mikilvirkar tölvur, IBM 4341-12, sem hvor fyrir sig hefur 4 milljón stafa minni (4 Mbyte).
  • 1985
  • Skýrr hefur á að skipa fjórum tölvum. Það eru tvær IBM 4381-2 tölvur, hvor með 16 Mbyte minni, og tvær IBM 4341-12 tölvur með 8 og 12 Mbyte minni. Samtals er minni tölva Skýrr því orðið 52 Mbyte.
  • 1986
  • Fyrsta tenging Íslands við Internetið kemst á, UUCP-tenging (unix-to-unix copy) frá Hafrannsóknastofnun til Evrópska unix-netsins (EUnet) í Hollandi.
  • Nettengingu komið á milli Háskóla Íslands og Hafrannsóknastofnunar. Þar með komst íslenska Internetsamfélagið ISnet í samband við umheiminn.
  • 1987
    Fyrstu .is lénum úthlutað
  • 1988
    Fyrstu IP addressum úthlutað til SURIS
  • 1989
  • ISnet tengist NORDUnet í Danmörku með IP-tengingu 21. júlí. Hraði 2,4 kbs.
  • 1990
    SURIS tengist Stokkhólmi á 9,6 kbs.

Annálar 1991 - 2000

1991 - 2000

  • 1991
    30 aðilar tengdir á Internet.
  • 1994
  • Ljósleiðarastrengurinn CANTAT-3 milli Þýskalands og Kanada, með viðkomu í Danmörku, Bretlandi, Færeyjum og Íslandi, tekinn í notkun.
  • 1995
    Landssíminn tekur upp Internetþjónustu í samkeppni við ISnet.
  • 1997
  • Íslenska Internetið, ISnet, fær beina tengingu til Ameríku um CANTAT-3 sæstrenginn.
  • 1999
    Íslandssími hefur samkeppni á Internetmarkaði með 2 x 34 Mb/s Internetgátt.


Samantekt á ensku vegna ráðstefnu um sögu tölvunnar á Norðurlöndum 2003.

The National Register was established by law in 1956 for persons and in 1969 for firms. The register evolved from the original punched card system to a computerised system in the 1960s and by 1985 it had become an on-line system reflecting the status of the population on a daily basis. The first application for the register was to preprint tax returns in the year 1954. The original usage of the register was for population tracking, for use as a voting register, for official administration, for medical research, and for population statistics (Þórhallsson and Zóphaníasson 1985 and Kjartansson 2002).  The Personal Identification Number used was composed of the birth date of the person concerned as nine digits DDMMYYNNH (day, month, year sequential number within the date, and year hundred i.e. 8 and 9.) With the advent of the computers a check digit was added making the PIN a ten-digit number. This number permeates all data processing in Iceland concerning persons and firms. It is used as identification in official administration, schools, hospitals, pharmacies, banks, on driver licenses, Visa cards etc.

ok 2003; jz 2003
Óttar Kjartansson og Jón Zoponiasson


Samantekt á ensku vegna ráðstefnu um sögu tölvunnar á Norðurlöndum 2003:

Municipalities in Iceland

In 1970 the municipalities in Iceland (except Reykjavík) were using Burroughs General Ledger machines to account for the local income tax. Each taxpayer had his or her own ledger card where the payments were recorded. The Skýrr centre (see above) calculated the individual tax assessment and the property rates as computed from the computerised real estate assessment (see above).

The municipalities started to cooperate in the early 70’s to find a common solution to their need for improved data processing. The minicomputers had appeared on the scene, making it feasible to manage the tax collection locally. The solution adopted was based on standard software from IBM, termed the “Taxpayer's Account” system (gjaldendabókhald), running on an IBM system S/3. The state taxes and property rates were computed centrally by Skýrr with local taxes and adjustments performed in the Taxpayer´s Account system. The Taxpayer's Account systems were in use well into the 1980s the and were then all centralised at Skýrr.

ok 2003
Örn Kaldalóns

Vísindi og tækni

Um tölvuvinnslu í þágu vísinda og tækni

Minningarbrot Helga Sigvaldasonar (PDF skjal) Helgi Sigvaldason. Október 2012
Upphaf  tölvuvæðingar hjá Náttúrufræðistofnun Íslands
(PDF 1,7MB) Ágúst Úlfar Sigurðsson. Nóvember 2007
Fyrstu ár Reiknistofnunar Háskóla Íslands RHÍ (PDF 2MB) Magnús Magnússon. Janúar 2007.
Síldin. Upphaf tölvuvinnslu gagna Hafrannsóknastofnunar Íslands (PDF 19K). Jakob Jakobsson og Gunnar Stefánsson.
Desember 2004.

Samantekt á ensku vegna ráðstefnu um sögu tölvunnar á Norðurlöndum 2003:
Scientific computing and software development methods (Oddur Benediktsson)
Some examples of projects undertaken using the IBM 1620 computer (Magnús Magnússon)
Landsvirkjun (Egill B. Hreinsson)


Scientific computing and software development methods

The scientific and engineering community in Iceland started to use the first computer at the University of Iceland in 1964, as soon as it was installed.  Some scientists had already learned to use computers at universities in other countries.  A steady stream of courses in FORTRAN II was offered locally.  In a year or two a number of applications had been written or acquired from the IBM Program Library or other sources. From the start research was conducted on software development methodologies (Benediktsson 1967, 1974, 1977.) Meteorologists, astronomers, geophysicists, fish- and livestock researchers, medical researchers, statisticians, and many others brought in their programs and data to be run at the University Computer Centre and to seek expert assistance.  On the engineering side the use of the computer proved particularly advantageous for surveyors and naval architects with their needs for massive computations.  A number of operational research models were built and simulated such as to optimise the control for water reservoirs for hydroelectric power stations and to find the optimum size of a trawler in Icelandic waters.

ob 2003
Oddur Benediktsson

Some examples of projects undertaken using the IBM 1620 computer

I shall now mention some of the many and varied projects initiated using the computer. Some of them were quite successful, others not.
In addition to holding Fortran programming courses, emphasis was put on encouraging and assisting people in the use of the computer in their own work.
At the University the first project was to computerise the calculation of the Almanac for Iceland, which had been calculated by hand and by the use of electric calculators. This enabled a great improvement to be made in the form and scope of the Almanac. Data from the Magnetic Observatory in Reykjavik were processed and analysed on the computer. Other applications followed.
Engineers were introduced to program packages such as COGO (Coordinate Geometry), a civil engineering software package, and CPM (Critical Path Method) or PERT (Program Evaluation and Review Technique). The staff of the City Engineering Department used COGO extensively in their surveying and planning work. CPM/PERT was not much used. The business administration software package COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language) did not catch on, due to lack of interest by business administration people.
The Public Roads Administration and the staff of the Computing Centre worked out the layout of the first major road in Iceland, between Reykjavík and Keflavík Airport, using the 1620.
The staff of the State Electricity Authority began using the computer in their geodetic survey work. A major long-term project on the simulation of electrical power systems was undertaken in cooperation with the National Power Company. This involved the optimisation of the use of reservoirs and thermal resources. (Sigvaldason 1967)
Several engineering firms started using the computer. This revolutionised their work in many ways.
A research project in human genetics was initiated in 1965 at the Computing Centre, supported by the US Atomic Energy Commission. This involved an extensive record linkage programme, at least by the standards of the time, covering persons in the Icelandic National Census of 1910 and those borne since. The census records were linked, using the Symbolic Programming System (SPS), to the National Register of living persons or to death records, recording inter alia the cause of death. Similarly the birth records from 1910 onwards were linked to the National Register or to death records. Thus a database of the 85,000 in the Census and the 165,000 borne since, about 250,000 persons, was set up. Blood group records of 27,000 persons were linked to the database. This unique database was then used in various human genetics studies. This record linkage project aroused considerable international interest and was presented at meetings in the US and UK (Magnússon 1968). It was for this project that two magnetic disk drives were acquired, each removable disk holding 2 million digits.
An operational analysis of the herring industry was initiated in 1965. This involved collecting and analysing data on the location and catching of the herring, the landing ports, the landing facilities and capacity of the processing plants as well as distances from the fishing grounds. The idea was to optimise the whole system taking into account the overall economy and to be able to direct the fishing boats to the most advantageous landing ports from the point of view of distance to the ports, time for landing the catch and distance to the next fishing grounds. The owners of the fishing vessels and processing plants showed little interest, however, choosing to rely on the judgment of their skippers and, perhaps, guarding their interests as owners of the plants.
An operational analysis project to optimise the use of trawlers for supplying fish for freezing plants in North Iceland was undertaken in 1969 by the staff of the Computing Centre in cooperation with the Fisheries Association. This involved assembling and analysing large amounts of data on the Icelandic fishing fleet, the number and sizes of trawlers, their catch on each trawl, the fishing grounds and so on. Comparison was made between the profitability of trawlers of different sizes. The conclusion was that the most economical size of trawlers was 400 - 500 tonnes. This conclusion was, however, ignored by the authorities and the fishing industry and larger and less economical trawlers were built. (Benediktsson et al. 1969)
Due to the rapid changes in sea conditions around Iceland and the danger it entails for small fishing boats, an attempt was made to forecast the wave conditions around the coast of Iceland. This was actually prompted by the loss of a fishing boat due to unforeseen sea conditions. A program was developed for this purpose. The idea was to obtain data from the Meteorological Office in the afternoon, feed the data into the computer, run the program and broadcast the forecast at midnight. The program worked well in hindcasting but the problem was that it took the IBM 1620 24 hours to make a 3 hour forecast!
Already in 1965 plans were made to make a computer model of the Icelandic economy. In discussions with Professor Koopmanns, later a Nobel Prize winner in Economics, at a meeting in Iceland in 1965, it was pointed out that the Icelandic economy was dominated by the fishing industry and should therefore be relatively simple to model. Professor Koopmanns agreed and suggested that an attempt be made to make a model of the economic system. An economic modelling program package was obtained from the University of Vienna for this purpose. However, little progress was made in this area at the time, largely due to lack of interest by economists who were not ready to embark upon such an undertaking.
The computerisation of the real estate assessment process was initiated in 1966 and became a longterm project. (See the paper by Oddur Benediktsson et. al. at this conference).
In medicine there was interest in using the computer right from the beginning. The Cancer Register, i.e. a register of all known cancer cases in Iceland, was processed and analysed on the 1620. The Heart Association put all the records from the extensive epidemiological studies being undertaken by the Association on the computer for processing and statistical analysis.
Several institutes and companies started long-term projects in applied statistics using the computer. Of these the Agricultural Research Institute, the Marine Research Institute and the Meteorological Office were particularly active.
Actuaries from insurance companies used the computer to analyse the car insurance business among other things.
In the humanities a very interesting pioneering project was initiated on the IBM 1620.The project involved the frequency analysis of the words occurring in an Icelandic novel and led to a concordance project. Later similar analyses were made of several Icelandic sagas.

mm 2003
Magnús Magnússon


One of the earliest minicomputer based real time control applications in Iceland was installed in late 1974 in Landsvirkjun (The National Power Authority). The “Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) System” used was manufactured by Leeds & Northrup and was installed to control and monitor hydroelectric power stations and substations in the Landsvirkjun power system, which at the time covered the South-Western part of Iceland. The system, labelled the Conitel 2050, consisted of a computer based master station and several hardwired remote stations. The master station was based on a dual configuration of a Lockheed MAC-16 minicomputer. A similar system was installed at Reykjavik Municipal Electric Works. Both these systems were in operation well into the eighties.

ebh 2003
Egill B. Hreinsson


Stutt yfirlit yfir tölvuvinnslu Flugleiða hf. 1974–1993 (PDF 56K). Jakob Sigurðsson

Samantekt á ensku vegna ráðstefnu um sögu tölvunnar á Norðurlöndum 2003:

Fish processing plants

The Icelandic economy is mainly based on fishing and fish processing industry. Around the year 1970 fish processing plants started paying bonus to employees for efficiency in production and utilization of raw material.
In the early 70’s the company Rekstrartækni s/f computerised the bonus calculation for the larger fish processing plants in Iceland. In 1972  Rekstrartækni purchased an IBM  System/3 system and IBM Iceland assisted in writing RPG programs for a salary system. They started servicing the processing plant Ísbjörninn (with around 100 employees), and were so successful that soon they had 16 plants to serve. Monthly meetings were arranged with the plant managers to coordinate this new technique. The managers took care not to disclose any critical information about their plants to the competitors and the Rekstrarækni staff had to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Based on the operative data obtained in the plants the utilisation of the raw material was computed and measures taken to improve it.  As a result the utilisation of the raw material for cod, for example, increased from 36% to 42% in the period 1974 to 1980 resulting in 18% increase in packed products.
In 1981 Rekstrartækni had four large IBM System/34 computers, when they purchased one IBM System/38 to take over all their data processing. By then they were by far the largest mid-range computer installation in Iceland. Subsequently the fish processing plants began purchasing their own midrange computers and started running their own salary and accounting systems.

ök 2003
Örn Kaldalóns


Upphaf hraðbankanna. Valur Valsson (2012)
Seðlabanki Íslands.
Ágrip af upplýsinga- og tölvuvæðingarmálum fram til ársins 2000 (PDF 38K). Ágúst Ú. Sigurðsson
Landsbanki Íslands. Upphaf tölvuvæðingar Landsbankans (PDF 60K). Sveinbjörn Guðbjarnason

Stofnár, númer og lokaár íslenskra banka (Úrelt, bíður uppfærslu)





Seðlabanki Íslands




Landsbanki Íslands



Landsbanki Íslands h.f.



Útvegsbanki Íslands h/f




Útvegsbanki Íslands




Útvegsbanki Íslands h.f.




Búnaðarbanki Íslands




Búnaðarbanki Íslands h.f.




KB banki h.f. / Kaupþing




Iðnaðarbanki Íslands h.f.




Íslandsbanki h.f. / Glitnir




Samvinnubanki Íslands




Verzlunarbanki Íslands h.f.




Alþýðubankinn h.f.




Breiðletraðir eru einu bankarnir sem eru starfandi í dag að ógleymdum Sparisjóðabanka Íslands (stofnaður 1986, ‘1100’) og sparisjóðunum, sem skipta með sér númerunum 11nn.

Sá var munurinn á ríkisbönkunum tveim, Landsbanka og Búnaðarbanka, og Útvegsbanka að þeir voru stofnaðir sem slíkir en Útvegsbankinn sem hlutafélag. Hann varð síðan ríkisbanki með lögum frá 1957. Saga bankanna er auðvitað lengri og samrunaferlið flóknara, en í okkar samhengi líklega ekki ástæða til að fara dýpra í það.

Póstur og sími starfrækti um nokkurra ára skeið póstgíróbankann PÓSTGÍRÓ sem hafði númerið 09nn. Íbúðalánasjóður er vistaður hjá Sparisjóði Hólahrepps og notar númerin 10nn (ásamt öðrum lánasjóðum, lífeyrissjóðum og ýmsum stofnunum). 

Enn er að nefna kortafyrirtækin tvö sem eru aðilar að starfrækslu Reiknistofunnar. Þau heita nú VISA ÍSLAND (1401) og Kreditkort h.f. (1501).

kga 2005
Kristján Geir Arnþórsson, gæðastjóri Reiknistofu bankanna

Ath.: Ofanritað hefur ekki verið uppfært frá 2005. Miklar breytiingar hafa orðið síðan. Greinin stendur fyrir sínu varðandi þáverandi stöðu mála og er því látin standa með þessum fyrirvara. (JG jan 2013)


Samantekt á ensku vegna ráðstefnu um sögu tölvunnar á Norðurlöndum 2003:

Reiknistofa bankanna

The larger banks in Iceland started to use punched cards systems for data processing in the 50’s and some had acquired computers by the late 60´s. The growing use of cheques was rapidly becoming an unsolvable task for the banks using traditional methods.

In the year 1970 the public banks in Iceland embarked on cooperation project to find a common solution to their core data processing needs and in particular to the mounting problem of clearing cheques. Subsequently Reiknistofa bankanna (Icelandic Banks Data Centre) was established and the common processing started in 1975 after an extended period of training and preparation.  The first application involved processing of cheques using Optical Character Reading of numbers imprinted at the bottom edge of the cheques.  By 1976 a bank customer could make a cheque transaction in any bank office and the transaction would be recorded into the relevant account with electronic document interchange and with the account balance entered into the account of each Bank at the Central Bank of Iceland. Thus, every evening, RB returned the same results as obtained earlier with the “spot checks” of the Central Bank. The spot checks had been carried out 3-5 times a year at considerable cost and effort. The level of automation achieved by this was unprecedented worldwide as best known. The volume of entries in the cheque system during the first complete operating year was 13.6 million transactions.

By 1981, the electronic booking of transactions and electronic transfer of funds was in effect for all of Iceland. Bank customers could then cash a cheque from any bank at any branch in the country and the clearing was instant. This put an end to the fraudulent practice of covering one bad cheque by the issue of another. The first expedition system was taken on-line in 1982, when the cheque system and the main general ledger system developed by the Industrial Bank were incorporated and integrated with other applications at RB. The following year saw negotiations with computer companies for the purchase of on-line front-desk equipment, and the Icelandic Savings Banks’ Association became a full partner. Most of the electronic records of RB became accessible for on-line queries in 1984. The first on-line teller system was taken into use in 1985 in the Landsbanki-Breidholt branch and by 1987 paper-free payment exchanges were affected in the Reykjavík metropolitan area.

In the year 1985 the total number of transactions in the common applications of Reiknistofa bankanna was 52.4 million records. The same year the number of employees reached 81. The computer system used was an IBM-4381 mainframe, IBM-DOS operating system, using PL/I as the main programming language. Two years later the IBM-MVS operating system replaced the DOS requiring major updating of all systems and applications. In 1987 central OCR reading of cheques ceased at RB as all the required data was entered at the on-line teller terminals.

bgó 2003
Bjarni Grétar Ólafsson

Fyrstu tölvurnar

Segulkjarnaminni og fyrsta íslenska tölvutónlistin (PDF 67K). Jóhann Gunnarsson

Samantekt á ensku vegna ráðstefnu um sögu tölvunnar á Norðurlöndum 2003:

The advent of the IBM 1620 - Personal reminiscences

This section tells the story of how the University of Iceland came to acquire the first general-purpose computer in Iceland.

In 1960 a few Icelandic students had come into contact with electronic computers during their university studies abroad. I had actually started using the EDSAC I computer in Cambridge in England already in 1950, using machine language. At the instigation of the Icelandic Mathematical Society two engineering students in Denmark spent 3 months in 1960 working on the DASK computer at Regnecentralen, using machine language. One of them went on to work on the GIER computer using Algol a couple of years later. One student in England had begun to use the Mercury computer in 1960, using Autocode. Two students in the United States started work on IBM 650 and 704 computers around 1960, using machine language and later FORTRAN and MAD (Michigan Algorithm Decoder). These people, with different computing backgrounds, were the human resources available to initiate scientific computing in Iceland.

Thus, in the beginning of the 1960's a few scientists and engineers in Iceland had used computers in their studies abroad but no computer was available in Iceland. The possibility of acquiring a computer had been looked into, e.g. acquiring a Mercury computer, but that possibility was not realistic. An Icelandic engineer visited Regnecentralen in Copenhagen in 1959 and its director, Niels Bech, came to Iceland in the summer of 1960. He even broached the idea of setting up a branch of Regnecentralen in Reykjavík with a GIER computer, but that was not a realistic idea and the matter did not go further.

In September 1960 the representative of IBM in Iceland, Ottó A. Michelsen, wrote to the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Iceland, and to the National Research Council, offering a 60% Educational Allowance on the purchase or rent of an IBM 1620 Model I computer that had been launched in October 1959. The offer was not taken up.

In a proposal from 1961 for the establishment of a Science Institute at the University of Iceland a recommendation was made to acquire an electronic computer for the institute. 

In 1963 an Icelandic electrical engineer spent several months at Regnecentralen in Denmark studying the GIER computer. The idea was to obtain components and assemble a GIER computer in Iceland. That plan did not materialise.

In October 1963 the IBM representative arranged for an IBM 1620 Model I computer, which was being shipped from Canada to Finland, to make a “stop-over “ in Iceland. Courses in Fortran programming were held with support from IBM in Denmark and people were given the opportunity to use the computer. This aroused great interest, primarily among scientists and engineers. IBM followed that up by again offering the University of Iceland a 60% Educational Allowance on the rent or purchase of an IBM 1620 computer and now the University responded positively.

The Rector of the University entrusted me, the only professor with computer experience, with the task to obtain funds to rent a computer and to set up a computing centre. This involved obtaining financial support from the Government and Parliament and possibly other sources. I discussed this matter with the Minister of Education, dr. Gylfi Þ. Gíslason, who showed an interest but stressed that the running costs of the computing centre be covered, at least partly, by income derived from the use of the computer. I approached the directors of governmental and municipal institutions and private firms and convinced most of them of the potential benefit of the use of the computer. I thus managed to obtain from several institutes “subscriptions” to 1-3 hours of computer time per month. The next step was to write a proposal to the Budget Committee of the Parliament for funds to rent the computer.

As I was writing the proposal the Minister of Education called me and asked about the purchase price of the computer. Although I had been preoccupied with the rental costs I could give the Minister an approximate price in Icelandic krónur. About ten minutes later he called me again and said that the Icelandic Development Bank had decided to donate to the University the purchase price of the computer on the occasion of its 10th anniversary! It turned out that the Minister was actually at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the bank where the directors were discussing how the bank should celebrate the anniversary. An agreement for the purchase of an IBM 1620 Model II computer, that had been announced in December 1962 and was a significant improvement on Model I, was signed in December 1963 for delivery in December 1964. That is how the University of Iceland came to acquire the first general-purpose computer in Iceland.

The University Computing Centre was set up in December 1964 with an IBM 1620 Model II computer with a memory of 40,000 binary coded decimals (BCD) and a card read/punch unit. Later two magnetic disk drives, each removable disk holding 2 million digits, were purchased with funds from the US Atomic Energy Commission and a line printer was acquired on loan from IBM. This was the equipment that was used to introduce scientific computing in Iceland

In the preparation for the setting up of the computing centre I had the invaluable assistance of Oddur Bendiktsson Ph.D. who had just returned from the United States. He later became the first professor of computer science at the University. Helgi Sigvaldason lic.tech., who was one of the Icelandic engineers at Regnecentralen in 1960 and who had wo0rked on GIER in Copenhagen from 1962 to 1964, came to the Computing Centre at the start. Both of them have contributed to this conference. The third member of the initial staff was Ragnar Ingimarsson Ph.D.. These three came from different computing backgrounds, having used Fortran, Algol and MAD respectively.

A picture of the IBM 1620-II computer in the University Computing Centre in 1964. On the picture from left: Þórhallur M. Einarsson (IBM), Ragnar Ingimarsson, Helgi Sigvaldason, Oddur Benediktsson, and Magnús Magnússon.

mm 2003 Magnús Magnússon


Samantekt á ensku vegna ráðstefnu um sögu tölvunnar á Norðurlöndum 2003:

First attempts at teleprocessing

The first steps towards teleprocessing at Skýrr were taken in 1973. Then the University of Iceland gained access to Skýrr’s IBM 370/135, running the APL programming system over remote terminals. The university APL application was not successful and was abandoned after 3 years. The main reason for the failure was limited processing capacity in the 370 computer, which had 96K of memory. A year later the Reykjavík City Hospital installed a terminal for RJE (Remote Job Entry) connected to the IBM computer at Skýrr to facilitate data processing for the clinical laboratory at the hospital. The requests for laboratory tests and the test results were punched in cards and processed over night when workload was low at Skýrr. The next morning various working lists and printed reports were ready at the RJE terminal. Subsequently the ever increasing need for teleprocessing was to have a profound effect on the telephone infrastructure i.e. both the connections and equipment inside Iceland as well as the equipment connecting Iceland to other countries.

jg 2003
Jóhann Gunnarsson