Title:
CALCULATING DISPLAY BOARD
United States Patent 3660645


Abstract:
A display board incorporating an electronic digital calculator. The board is designed to display certain data concerning projects undertaken and the length of time various staff members are assigned thereto; and the calculator responds to the data displayed by computing a numerical project cost quantity. In addition to the displayed data, the calculator takes into account additional data relating to the various overhead factors pertaining to respective projects, and the various salary rates paid to staff members assigned to these projects. Selector switches permit particular projects and time periods to be included in or excluded from the cost calculation.



Inventors:
Lecht, Charles P. (New York, NY)
Harden, William O. (Chappaqua, NY)
Lavell, Matthew J. (Wantagh, NY)
Kos, Stanley M. (E. Northport, NY)
Pace, Robert A. (Jericho, NY)
Application Number:
05/039482
Publication Date:
05/02/1972
Filing Date:
05/21/1970
Assignee:
ADVANCED COMPUTER TECHNIQUES CORP.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
377/16, 377/49, 377/55, 705/32, 708/134, 708/163
International Classes:
G06Q10/10; G06Q30/04; (IPC1-7): G06F7/39; G06F7/385; G06F15/24
Field of Search:
340/147PR,286,373,375,365 235
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:



Primary Examiner:
Morrison, Malcolm A.
Assistant Examiner:
Gottman, James F.
Claims:
The embodiments of the invention in which an exclusive property or privilege is claimed are defined as follows

1. A calculating display device comprising:

2. A device as in claim 1 wherein said display surface has indicia indicating that a connector in said first section represents a project, that said selected axis represents time, and that the distance between said start-stop pair of second connectors represents the duration of work on said project.

3. A device as in claim 2 wherein said input means includes a plurality of start-stop connector-mounting means in said second section spaced along said selected axis to define increments of time, and said calculating means includes a plurality of first connector test conductors associated with respective ones of said connector-mounting means and arranged for connection to a connector mounted thereon whereby to test for the presence or absence of a connector at said mounting means, means for electrically testing said first test conductors for the presence or absence of a connector in a sequence corresponding to a scan along said time axis, second test conductor means responsive to said start-stop connectors, means for accumulating a count of pulses, means for supplying pulses to said accumulator means, computation control means for gating said pulses into said accumulator, and means responsive to said second test conductors for enabling said computation control gate to start a pulse accumulation interval the first time during said scan that one of said first test conductors tests positive for a start-stop connector, and for disabling said computation control gate to terminate said pulse accumulation interval the second time during said scan that one of said conductors tests positive for a start-stop connector.

4. A device as in claim 3 wherein said computation control gate enabling and disabling means includes a count interval circuit which is settable for the duration of a count interval to enable said computation control gate, and resettable to disable it at the end of said count interval, a count interval gate controlling the setting of said count interval circuit, means for applying a start count interval signal to said count interval gate each time one of said first conductors is tested, to set said count interval circuit when said count interval gate is enabled, means for enabling said count interval gate in response to said first positive test and disabling it in response to said second positive test, and means independent of said count interval gate for thereafter resetting said count interval circuit after each first conductor test and before the next first conductor test.

5. A device as in claim 4 wherein said count interval circuit resetting means includes means arranged to measure a count interval by counting a predetermined quantity of pulses passed while said computation control gate is enabled, and to reset said count interval circuit at the end of said count interval.

6. A device as in claim 5 wherein said count interval measuring means is arranged for adjustment of said predetermined count quantity, and comprises means for selecting said count quantity prior to the start of a count.

7. A device as in claim 6 wherein said count quantity selecting means includes means for manually selecting said count quantity from a plurality of alternatives prior to said calculation, whereby to enter said count quantity into said calculation as a third variable.

8. A device as in claim 7 wherein said count quantity selecting means includes a plurality of count quantity selecting circuits associated with respective count quantities, and having respective electrical inputs for selecting said circuits, and at least one of said electrical connectors includes means for making electrical connection to a selected one of said circuit inputs whereby placement of said connector selects one of said circuits.

9. A device as in claim 8 wherein said circuit selecting means on said connector is manually changeable, and said circuit inputs are arranged to cooperate with said manually changeable means so that a manual change thereof determines which circuit is selected by said connector.

10. A device as in claim 9 wherein said manually changeable connector means includes a plurality of prong-receiving recesses on said connector and an electrical connecting prong which is removable from, and replaceable in, any one of said recesses, and respective ones of said circuit inputs are positioned in relation to respective ones of said recesses to complete respective electrical connections to said prong when it is located therein, whereby the positioning of said prong in one of said recesses selects one of said circuit inputs.

11. A device as in claim 8 wherein at least one of said count quantity selecting circuits includes manual switch means arranged to adjust the count quantity selected by said circuit.

12. A device as in claim 11 wherein said manual switch means includes a device which is arranged to encode count quantities, and is manually adjustable to change the quantity encoded thereby, and said count quantity selecting circuit is arranged to cause the predetermined count quantity of said count interval measuring means to equal said quantity encoded.

13. A device as in claim 6 wherein said count interval measuring means is a countdown counter, and said count quantity selecting means is arranged to load said predetermined count quantity into said countdown counter at the start of a count interval measurement.

14. A device as in claim 5 wherein said count interval measuring means includes a pulse repetition rate divider connected to receive the same pulses as are received by said accumulating means, and at least one counter arranged to receive and count pulses from said rate divider.

15. A device as in claim 5 wherein said count interval measuring means and said accumulating means each includes a plurality of individual counter stages representing respective numerical orders and respective gates controlling the input of pulses to said stages, each pair of corresponding counter stages of said count interval measuring and accumulating means having the same count modulus, and each pair of corresponding counter stage control gates of said count interval measuring and accumulating means having common gate control circuitry whereby each gate of said pair is enabled and disabled at the same time as the other.

16. A device as in claim 15 wherein said common gate control circuitry includes means to enable and disable said pairs of gates in order of increasing numerical significance of their associated counter stages in successive response to the respective successive overflow outputs of count stages of increasing numerical significance of said count interval measuring means.

17. A device as in claim 3 wherein said second test conductor means includes a plurality of second test conductors crossing said first test conductors, said second section of said display surface having regions corresponding to respective ones of said second conductors, each such region having a plurality of said start-stop connector mounting means each located at the intersection of a respective one of said second test conductors with a respective one of said first test conductors, said start-stop connector mounting means being arranged so that a start-stop connecter received by any one of them connects the second test conductor associated therewith to the first test conductor associated therewith so that a connector test signal applied to one of said associated test conductors emerges as a test output on the other of said associated test conductors to indicate the presence of said start-stop connector, and project scanning means for selecting said second test conductors in sequence as said first conductors are scanned, said computation control gate enabling means being arranged to respond to a positive connector test output from the currently selected test conductor intersection.

18. A device as in claim 17 wherein said first section of said display surface is arranged to indicate a correspondence between each project connector mounted thereon and an associated start-stop connector mounting region in said second section, and project connector detection circuitry is arranged to cooperate with said project scanning means to respond to the presence of a project connector by providing a project connector detection signal when and only when a project connector is present in said first section and the particular one of said second test conductors which is associated therewith is selected, and project connector circuitry is responsive to said project connector detection signal to permit the enabling of said computation control gate during the selection of said particular second connector test conductor only if there is a project connector detection signal associated therewith.

19. A device as in claim 18 wherein said visible display means includes a plurality of calculation enabling electrical connectors, and said display surface includes a third section adapted to mount said enabling connectors at positions therein which are visually correlated with respective ones of said second test conductors and each indicating a given calculation concerning the project represented by an associated one of said project connectors mounted in said first section, and including circuitry responsive to saId enabling connectors so that a signal representing detection of a stop-start connector is blocked unless an enabling connector is present in the position corresponding to the associated one of said second test conductors.

20. A device as in claim 19 wherein said third section contains means for indicating that said project enabling connectors represent the assignment of individuals to the projects represented by said associated project connectors.

21. A device as in claim 20 wherein said computation control gate enabling and disabling means includes a count interval circuit which is settable to enable said computation control gate and resettable to disable it, means for setting said count interval circuit in response to said first positive test, means including at least one counter for measuring a count interval by counting a predetermined quantity of pulses and thereafter resetting said count interval circuit to terminate said count interval, said count interval measuring means being arranged for adjustment of said count quantity, and means responsive to the one said project enabling connectors which is associated with a given one of said second test conductors to select for said counter a given count quantity whereby to select a given count interval duration in connection with a given enabling connector during the time said associated second test conductor is selected by said scanning means.

22. A device as in claim 21 wherein said count quantity selecting means includes a plurality of count quantity selecting circuits each having a respective electrical input for selecting that circuit, and said project enabling connectors are removable and replaceable and include means for making a circuit-selecting electrical connection to one of said inputs of said quantity selecting means whereby placement of one of said connectors selects one of said count quantity selecting circuits.

23. A device as in claim 18 wherein said project enabling connector detection circuitry employs one set of said start-stop connector test conductors as a common line for said project connector detection signal, and includes means for time-division multiplexing to distinguish said start-stop connector detection and project connector detection signals on said common line.

24. A device as in claim 22 wherein said project connector circuitry includes a count interval circuit which is settable to enable said computation control gate and resettable to disable it, means operative on the first appearance of a start-stop connector detection signal to set said count interval circuit whereby to start a pulse accumulation, and means arranged to measure a count interval by counting a predetermined quantity of pulses during the time said computation control gate is enabled and to reset said count interval circuit at the end of said count interval, means for selecting said predetermined count quantity, and means responsive to said project connector detection signals to count said project connectors and to activate said count quantity selecting means each time a project connector is detected.

25. A device as in claim 24 further comprising selection means controlling the accumulation of pulses by said accumulator counter, including manually operable individual project selection switches having an assigned numerical order, and means responsive to said project selection switches and said project connector counter to cause said selection means to permit the accumulation of pulses when one or more of said project selection switches is operated and the order of any one of the currently operated projected selection switches corresponds numerically to the current count in said project connector counter.

26. A device as in claim 25 further comprising a manually operable total switch connected to provide a signal to said selection means which substitutes functionally for any and all of said responses to said individual project selection switches.

27. A device as in claim 25 further comprising means responsive in a selective pattern to said first test conductors, when those in said pattern are selected for start-stop connector test scan purposes, to cause said selection means to permit a pulse accumulation concurrently with the start-stop connector test scan selection of any of said first test conductors which are included in said pattern, and time switches for manually selecting said pattern.

28. A device as in claim 27 further comprising means including a gate arranged to disconnect said first test conductors from said selection means, and responsive to said project selection switches to connect said first test conductors in said pattern to said selection means when all of said project selection switches are simultaneously not operated.

29. A device as in claim 27 wherein said means responsive in a selective pattern includes means for connecting said first test conductors in groups such that the first test conductors of each group are commonly controllable, and said time switches are each arranged to control a respective one of said groups.

30. A device as in claim 27 further comprising means responsive to said time switches to detect a condition in which all such switches are simultaneously not operated, and means responsive to detection of such condition to provide a signal in a non-selective pattern which substitutes functionally for the operation of any one or more of said time switches.

31. A device as in claim 30 further comprising means for enabling and disabling said computation control gate enabling means, and responsive to said time switches for enabling said gate enabling means during any time that none of said time switches is operated, and during any time that one or more of them is operated and the first test conductor currently selected furing a scan is one which is a currently operated time switch.

32. A device as in claim 4 wherein said means for enabling and disabling said count interval gate includes a first time interval circuit arranged to be set in response to said second positive test, a terminal time interval circuit arranged to be set in response to said first positive test and not to be reset in response to said second positive test, means for enabling said count interval gate when either of said time interval circuits is set and disabling it when both of them are reset, and means for resetting said terminal time interval circuit upon resetting of said count interval circuit if said first time interval circuit is already reset.

33. A device as in claim 32 further comprising means for resetting both of said time interval circuits after selection of the last of said first test conductors in each time axis scan.

34. A device as in claim 32 further comprising means responsive in a selective pattern to said first test conductors, when those in said pattern are selected for start-stop connector test scan purposes, to provide a necessary input to said count interval gate concurrently with the start-stop connector test scan selection of any of said first test conductors which are included in said pattern, time switches for manually selecting said pattern, and means for resetting said terminal time interval circuit upon termination of a signal from one or more operated time switches.

35. A device as in claim 20 wherein said computation control gate enabling and disabling means includes a count interval circuit which is settable to enable said computation control gate and resettable to disable it, means for setting said count interval circuit in response to said first positive test, means including two counters connected in cascaded relationship for measuring a count interval by counting respective predetermined quantities of pulses and thereafter resetting said count interval circuit to terminate said count interval at the end of a time proportional to the product of said count quantities, said counters being arranged for individual adjustment of their respective count quantities, means responsive to the one of said project connectors which is associated with one or more of said second test conductors to select for one of said counters a given count quantity whereby to select a given partial count duration in connection with a given enabling connector associated with a given project connector during the time any second test conductor associated with said project connector is selected by said scanning means, and means responsive to an enabling connector which is associated with said second test conductor to select for the other of said counters a given count quantity whereby to select a given partial count duration in connection with the assignment of an individual to that project which is associated with that project enabling connector, during the time the particular second test conductor associated with that project enabling connector is selected by said scanning means.

36. A calculating display device comprising:

37. A device as in claim 36 wherein said calculating means includes means for counting said project connectors in the course of selecting successive ones of said regional conductors, and said calculating means is designed to calculate a subtotal cost only for those regional conductors which have a project connector associated therewith and those which follow a regional conductor having a project connector associated therewith, whereby for the purposes of said calculation the assignment of a plurality of staff members to a single project is represented by a single project connector mounted on said project section and associated with a given regional conductor plus a plurality of staff connectors mounted on said staff section, the first of which is associated with that same regional conductor and the others of which are associated with regional conductors which follow it in scanning order.

38. A device as in claim 36 further comprising means for treating the latest-time-representing stop plug mounting position associated with each regional conductor as the equivalent of a stop plug during the selection of a given regional conductor if there is a start plug but no stop plug associated with that regional conductor.

39. A device as in claim 37 further comprising a plurality of project selecting switches, said calculating means being designed to calculate a subtotal cost for those regional conductors which are associated with project plugs representing projects selected by one or more operated project selector switches.

40. A device as in claim 39 wherein said calculating means is designed also to calculate a subtotal cost for all regional conductors associated with any project connector on said project section when none of said project selector switches is operated.

41. A device as in claim 37 further comprising a plurality of time selection switches for selecting various time increments represented on said time field, said calculating means being designed to calculate a subtotal cost for any regional conductor which is proportional to that portion of the distance between start-stop connectors mounted on said time field in association with said regional conductor which is selected by said time selection switches.

42. A device as in claim 41 wherein said calculating means is designed also to calculate for each regional conductor a subtotal cost which is proportional to the entire distance between each pair of start-stop connectors whenever none of said time selection switches is operated.

43. A device as in claim 37 further comprising: a plurality of project selecting switches and a plurality of time selection switches for selecting various time increments representd on said time field, said calculating means being designed to calculate a subtotal cost only for those regional conductors which re associated with project plugs representing projects selected by one or more operated project selector switches when one or more of said switches is operated and to calculate a subtotal cost for a given regional conductor which is proportional to that portion of the distance between start-stop connectors mounted on said time field in association with said regional conductor which is selected by said time selection switches when one or more consecutive-time-increment-representing switches are operated and none of said project switches is operated at the same time.

44. A device as in claim 43 wherein said calculating means is designed to calculate a subtotal cost only for those regional conductors which are associated with project plugs representing projects selected by one or more operated project selector switches and each subtotal cost for any regional conductor is proportional to that portion of the distance between start-stop connectors mounted on said time field in association with said regional conductors which is selected by said time selection switches when one or more consecutive-time-increment-representing switches are operated and one or more of said project switches are also operated at the same time.

45. A device as in claim 43 further comprising a total switch, said calculating means being responsive to said total switch to calculate a subtotal cost for all said regional conductors, each said subtotal cost being proportional to the entire distance between a pair of start-stop connectors associated with said regional conductor.

46. A device as in claim 37 wherein said project connectors comprise means for selecting among a plurality of project factors, said input means is responsive to said project factor selection means on said project connectors to sense the selection of a project factor for the individual project represented by said connector, and said calculating means is designed to apply said proJect factor as a multiplier in calculating the subtotal cost for each regional conductor associated with said project connector.

47. A device as in claim 37 wherein said staff connectors comprise means for selecting among a plurality of staff factors, said input means is responsive to said staff factor selection means on said staff connectors to sense the selection of a staff factor for the individual staff member represented by said connector, and said calculating means is designed to apply said staff factor as a multiplier in calculating a subtotal cost for each regional conductor associated with said staff connector.

48. A device as in claim 37 wherein said project connectors comprise means for selecting among a plurality of project factors, said staff connectors comprise means for selecting among a plurality of staff factors, said input means is responsive to said project and staff factor selection means on said project and staff connectors to sense the selection of project and staff factors for the individual projects and staff members represented by said connectors, and said calculating means is designed to apply said project and staff factors as multipliers in calculating a subtotal cost for each regional conductor associated with said project and staff connectors.

Description:
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to display boards, and particularly to a project planning board which automatically calculates project costs in response to the data displayed.

THE PRIOR ART

Various business enterprises find a project planning display board useful as a management tool. This is particularly true of service organizations which need to coordinate the efforts of a number of staff people, and allocate those efforts efficiently among various different projects in progress concurrently. An example of a service business which benefits from this type of display board is a computer programming or "software" company which typically has a plurality of client programs in progress and at various stages of completion at any given time; and which is usually concerned with the problems of assigning various different staff members to work on different program projects in accordance with the changing needs of the projects and the talents and availability of programming personnel.

In the past, planning boards of this type were used to illustrate the assignment of personnel to various projects as a function of time, but they did not provide any direct indication of cost factors. In other words, such display boards did not have a built-in cost computation capability.

The design of a display board having a sophisticated computation circuit for this type of application is quite difficult. First of all, such a circuit should take its input data directly from the display board, so far as possible, in order to make the device convenient and simple to use. Secondly, although different personnel have different salary rates, different overhead factors are assigned to different projects, and individual staff members start and stop work on particular projects at various times, all these factors must be taken into account in the computation. Finally, it is difficult to predict in advance the particular type of cost calculation which management may require at any given time. In some instances management may wish a total cost calculation, but in other instances it may wish to select particular projects and/or particular time intervals.

THE INVENTION

The present invention seeks to meet these needs by providing a management planning aid which graphically displays the allocation of personnel resources to various client projects with respect to time, and in addition has the capability of automatically calculating project costs, based upon the displayed data plus additional variable input data including project overhead rates and staff salary rates. The calculation is performed on command, and in a variety of different modes selected by the operator. He can calculate the cost of one or more selected projects over any selected time period, up to all projects and the entire length of time represented on the display board.

The device is so designed that the necessary data as to project overhead factors, staff salary rates, and the time intervals over which respective staff members are assigned to respective projects is all inherently entered into the cost calculation as a result of the graphic display. The only additional thing the operator must do is select the projects or time periods of interest, and the calculating display board then automatically performs the desired cost calculation.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the calculating display board of this invention, illustrating how it displays client projects undertaken, and the assignment of staff members to these projects with respect to time. It also illustrates the physical relationship of the display board to a cabinet housing the computation circuitry.

FIG. 2A is a perspective view of the type of electrical plug which is removably and replaceably mounted in the project and staff columns of the display board to represent client projects and staff members; and FIG. 2B is a similar view of another type of electrical plug which is removably and replaceably mounted at selected locations in the time columns to indicate the intervals during which those staff members are assigned to those projects.

FIG. 3 is a simplified overall block diagram of the electronic circuitry for performing cost calculations using information derived from the display board.

FIGS. 4A through 4E together constitute a complete overall block diagram of the same circuitry.

FIG. 5 is a perspective view, with parts broken away for clarity of illustration, of a manual selector switch for adjusting the level of a staff salary rate category.

And FIGS. 6 through 10 are combined logic and circuit diagrams giving additional detail of the circuitry in FIGS. 4A through 4E, according to the following table of correspondence:

FIGS. 4A FIGS. 6 and 7 FIGS. 4A and 4B FIG. 7 FIG. 4C FIG. 8 FIG. 4D FIG. 9 FIG. 4E FIG. 10

the same reference characters refer to the same elements throughout the several views of the drawing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT

General System Description

With reference to FIG. 1 of the drawings, a calculating display device generally designated 10 comprises an upright display board 12 which accepts a plurality of plugs 29, 30 and 31 as a means of displaying and entering variable input information, and a cabinet 14 which houses electronic circuitry for calculating a cost figure from that same information. The cabinet has a numerical read-out 16 for displaying the calculated cost, and a bank of manual selector switches 18 to control the mode of calculation.

The board 12 includes a plurality of horizontal rows forming a rectangular matrix in cooperation with a vertical project column P, a vertical staff column S, and a time field comprising 12 vertical month columns J through D corresponding to the months January through December. The column labeled C identifies the client for which a project is undertaken.

Each project which may be involved in the calculation of a cost figure to be displayed by the read-out 16 is represented by an electrical plug 30B having prongs inserted into appropriate openings at the intersection of one of the horizontal lines of the board 12 with the vertical project column P. In the vertical staff column S appropriate electrical plugs 30A are entered on that same horizontal row, and as many immediately succeeding horizontal rows as are required, to indicate one or more staff members assigned to the particular project. After the appropriate number of horizontal rows has been marked off by staff plugs 30A in column S to account for all the staff members working on that project, the next horizontal row is devoted to the next project plug 30B in column P, and a similar grouping of one or more associated staff plugs 30A is added for that project. A given staff member may be represented by different plugs 30A in column S on various horizontal lines dedicated to separate projects, since staff members may work on different projects at different periods of time.

The vertical month columns J through D are subdivided into week columns, allotting four per month for the sake of circuit simplicity. On each horizontal row corresponding to a specific staff member insofar as he is assigned to a specific project, the user of the device inserts in the appropriate vertical week column a first electrical plug 31 to indicate the initial week of a time period in which that staff member works on that project, and a second electrical plug 31 to indicate the last week of that time period. The staff member may start and stop work on a project more than once, with a hiatus of a week or more in between; in which case two or more pairs of start and stop plugs 31 would be used on the same horizontal row.

FIG. 2A is an illustration of the type of electrical plug 30 which is mounted in either the project column P or the staff column S. The plug includes a plastic body 30.1, on the rear surface 30.2 of which is displayed the name of the project or the staff member represented by the plug. Thus the plug serves an informative function relative to the display board 12, as well as an input function relative to the electrical circuitry in cabinet 14. Fixed prongs 32 at the opposite ends of the plastic body 30 mate with appropriate holes in the board 12 for locating and mounting purposes. Between the fixed prongs 32 there are a plurality of prong-receiving holes numbered 1 through 10, any one of which receives a movable prong 34. Each prong 34 is in reality a coaxial electrical connector having a small semiconductor diode incorporated therein, and is removable and replaceable with respect to any of the numbered holes 1 through 10. When a plug 30 is used as a project plug 30B in vertical column P, the positioning of the connector prong 34 in one of the holes 1 through 10 determines which one of 10 project factors, for example overhead rates, is assigned to the particular project represented by that plug. This factor can be varied by relocating the prong 34 to the desired one of the holes. When a plug 30 is used as a staff plug 30A in the staff column S, the positioning of the prong 34 represents a selection of one of ten salary rate categories assigned to the particular staff member. In either case, the function of the diode incorporated in the prong 34 is to make an appropriate unidirectional electrical connection within a conductor matrix located behind the board 12. The position of the prong 34 determines which of 10 possible mating holes on the board 12 will receive the prong, and thus selects one of 10 alternative matrix connections, causing the selected project factor or salary rate to be entered into the cost calculation.

In addition, one of the locating prongs 32 of each plug 30 is also a coaxial connector incorporating a small semiconductor diode for making a unidirectional electrical connection to a conductor matrix behind the project column P or staff column S for the purpose of entering the presence of a project plug 30B or staff plug 30A into the cost calculation.

The client plugs 29 are for the sole purpose of identifying the client for whom the project is undertaken, and serve no electrical input function.

In the time field represented by the month columns J through D, an electrical plug 31 (FIG. 2B) is used for the start and stop indications. These plugs have fixed coaxial diode connector prongs 33; their location in the time field J-D is varied by moving the entire plug 31 to the appropriate week column and project and staff row.

As seen in FIG. 3, the simplified block diagram of the computing circuit, the read-out 16 receives the results of the cost calculation from an accumulator counter 46. The quantity derived from this counter 46 is actually the total number of pulses which it accumulates over a counting cycle during which the entire time filed (vertical month columns J through D) is scanned across each horizontal row to detect each possible project and staff member which can be represented on the display board 12. The pulses enter the accumulator counter 46 through decade control gates 42 and a computation control gate 44. The computation control gate opens and closes at appropriate times to allow relatively longer or shorter streams of pulses from a clock source 48 to enter the accumulator counter 40. Thus the "open" time of the gate determines the magnitude of the cost quantity accumulated.

Gate 44 responds to the project and staff plugs 30A and 30B and staff assignment plugs 31. It opens only when the particular horizontal row of board 12 then being scanned is one for which at least one "start" staff assignment plug 31 has been entered on that horizontal row, a staff plug 30A has been entered on that row, and a project plug 30B has also been entered on that row or a previous one. Since the number of pulses entering the accumulator counter 40 depends upon when gate 44 is open, it depends in turn upon the assignment of a staff member to a project.

Gate 44 also closes in response to a second, or "stop" staff assignment plug 31, indicating the end of the staff assignment. Therefore the gate stays open a length of time which is proportional to the interval over which a staff member is assigned to a project; this staff assignment interval being represented by the spacing between start and stop plugs on the appropriate horizontal row of the board 12. It follows that the total number of pulses passed through the gate 44 depends on the number of staff man weeks assigned to each project on each horizontal row.

The time field represented by the vertical month columns J through D includes a plurality of vertical conductors 50, one for each of 48 weeks in a (simplified) year, and 56 horizontal conductors 52, one for each horizontal row which can represent the assignment of a particular staff member to a particular project. These conductors form a matrix behind the J-D columns of board 12. Additional vertical and horizontal conductors form additional matrices behind the P and S columns.

A first scanner circuit 49 is stepped by a stream of pulses from clock source 48 to energize each of the vertical lines 50 in succession; and a second scanner circuit 56 is stepped by successive end-of-scan outputs from scanner 54 to accept signals from successive horizontal lines 52. Thus, in a typical scanning cycle the first horizontal conductor 52 is continuously selected by the scanner 56 during the entire time period in which the scanner 54 energizes all the vertical lines 50 in sequence to determine if there are any time field plugs 31. When it energizes the vertical line 50 having the first such plug on the currently selected horizontal line 52, a signal is connected from that vertical line 50 through the associated plug diode to that horizontal line 50. If there is a staff plug 30A and diode 32A on that line 50, then an output from scanner 56 is applied to a selector gate 92. If a "selection" signal is then available to enable the gate 92, then the scanner output is applied as a "start staff assignment" signal to set a staff assignment flip-flop which enables a week interval gate 46, permitting a "start week interval" signal on a lead 72 to set a week interval flip-flop 70 which enables the computation control gate 44. Thus, the first plug 31 encountered in each horizontal row of the time field acts as a start plug; i.e., it starts the accumulation of pulses in the accumulator counter 40.

The next plug 31 detected in the horizontal scan causes a "stop staff assignment" pulse to be issued by scanner 56, which resets the staff assignment flip-flop 60 and disables the gate 46. Thus the second plug in the row is the stop plug; it closes the time "window" during which the "start week interval" signal on lead 72 can set the week interval flip-flop 70 and enable gate 44. There is no physical difference between start and stop plugs 31; they merely have a different sequence of positions on the board 12.

At the end of each horizontal scan, circuit 54 steps the vertical scanner 56 to select the next horizontal conductor 52, representing the next staff member in column S assigned to the same project, or the first staff member in column S assigned to the next project in column P. In any event, the same scanning sequence is performed for each of the fifty-six horizontal conductors 52 in turn. During a complete scan of the board 12, whenever plugs 31 indicate that a particular staff member is assigned to a particular project for one or more weeks, the week gate 46 is held open for a corresponding time interval, and a corresponding number of pulses is entered into the accumulator counter 40. If on any particular horizontal line 52 there is no staff plug 30A in column S, or no start plug 31 in month columns J through D, then the gate 46 will not be enabled and the accumulator counter 40 will not receive any pulses during that particular horizontal scan. If there is a staff plug 30A and a start plug 31, but no stop plug 31, a special end-of-scan pulse on lead 55 resets the staff assignment flip-flop 60 at the end of each horizontal scan.

In order to take account of particular overhead factors and daily salary rates which are appropriate to each project and staff member respectively, during each "week interval" (i.e., "set" time of week interval flip-flop 70) the control gate 44 is kept open only for a length of time proportional to the project factor and and the staff daily rate factor. The staff assignment flip-flop 60 is continuously set, and therefore gate 46 is continuously enabled, while the scan of any horizontal row of board 12 is between start and stop plugs 31. Such a "set" interval of the flip-flop 60 represents a start-stop staff assignment period which may last anywhere from two to 48 "week intervals" of flip-flop 70. For each week interval which occurs during a staff assignment period of the current horizontal scan, the flip-flop 70 is cycled once, i.e., set and reset, by alternate "start week interval" and "stop week interval" signals, to define a series of week intervals; and the times during which it remains set, i.e., the duration of the week intervals, are proportional both to the relevant project factor and the relevant staff salary rate. It follows that the "open" time of gate 44, and the number of pulses passing through it to the accumulator counter 40, are proportional to the project factor and staff salary rate.

The "stop week interval" signal on lead 74 which resets flip-flop 70 is the output of a project factor counter 76. The latter counts a stream of pulses received from the output of a daily salary rate counter 78, which in turn counts a stream of pulses arriving from decade control gates 80 and a modulus five pulse repetition rate divider 82 driven by the clock 48.

Circuit 82 divides the clock pulse repetition rate by a factor of five, in order to adjust a daily staff salary rate to the 5-day working week which is the basic time quantum in scanning board 12. Thus a stream of pulses issuing from the clock 48, at a rate which is proportional to project cost per week, is applied directly to accumulate cost in the counter 40, but is divided by five in circuit 82 before being applied, as a representation of project salary cost per day, to the counter 78.

Counters 78 and 76 are both of the type which count down from an initial setting, the setting being variable. In the case of the salary rate counter 78, each different salary rate has the effect of setting a different numerical start level for the countdown. This determines the number of pulses which is required to satisfy the counter 78 during each week interval.

A set of manual salary rate switches 86 permits a choice of a different salary rate for each of several salary categories. The particular salary category which is chosen for a particular staff member depends upon the position chosen for the movable prong 34A of the particular plug 30A used for that staff member. Thus the rate switches 86 are used for changes in overall salary levels, and the prongs 34A of staff plugs 30A are used to select the particular one of the current salary rate categories which applies to a particular staff member at a particular time.

Similarly, as represented by lead 90, the movable prong 34B of each project plug 30B determines the particular starting quantity which must be counted down to satisfy the project factor counter 76 for the particular project represented by that plug.

In operation, a stream of pulses from the clock source 48 is divided down to one fifth the clock repetition rate by circuit 82, and passes through gates 80 to enter the daily rate counter 78. During each week interval of a particular horizontal scan, the amount of time required for this fixed repetition rate pulse stream to count down the counter 78 is determined by the particular salary rate quantity set into the counter by one of the staff plugs 30A and circuit 86. For a relatively high salary level, the salary rate counter 78 will take a longer time to be satisfied by the stream of pulses.

The salary rate counter 78 is stepped through a plurality of counting cycles, each one resulting in a single output pulse applied over lead 79 to the input of the project factor counter 76. Thus, the counter 76 receives a stream of pulses on lead 79, at a repetition rate inversely proportional to the salary level counted down by counter 78. The amount of time required for the project factor counter 76 to count down depends upon the project overhead factor loaded into it by one of the project plugs 30B; i.e., at any pulse repetition rate it will take a longer time to count down from a higher overhead factor quantity. But since the pulse repetition rate on lead 79 is inversely proportional to salary, the total time required for both counters to be satisfied, and for counter 76 to issue a "stop week interval" pulse on lead 74, depends upon both the salary rate and the overhead factor. Each time the output on lead 74 appears, the week interval flip-flop 70 is reset and the gate 44 is disabled to terminate the passage of clock pulses to the accumulator counter 46 for the particular week interval. Therefore, the number of pulses gated into accumulator counter 46 by the gate 44 in a week interval is proportional to the relevant salary rate and project overhead factor.

At the end of each cycle of counters 76 and 78 respectively, a "reset" pulse appears on the appropriate one of leads 98 to reload that counter for the start of the next count cycle.

If the number of pulses set into the accumulator counter 40 during each week interval is proportional to the staff salary rate and project overhead factor; and the total number of week intervals for which pulses are accumulated in each horizontal scan is determined by the space between start and stop plugs 31 on the board 12; it follows that the total number of pulses accumulated by the counter 40 in each horizontal scan represents the total cost attributable over twelve months to a particular staff member working on a particular project.

This device has several operating modes. Under control of the panel switches 18, a selector circuit 94 can operate the selector gate 92 so that the counter 40 accumulates all clock pulses for selected ones of the horizontal lines 52 (thus giving a 12 month total for any combination of one or more projects), or so that the pulses are accumulated for one or more selected months for all projects and all staff members, or for any desired combination of particular months and particular projects, up to and including all months and all projects.

The manual selector switches 18 include a group of fourteen project switches (one for each project up to the maximum number that can be accommodated); a group of 12 month switches, one for each of the months represented in the vertical columns J through D; and a total switch. These switches permit four different operating modes to be selected. In the first, or project, mode, the user presses one or more project buttons in the group 18, to select the particular project or projects desired, and the device then calculates the cost of the selected projects over a twelve month period, taking account of the different overhead factors assigned to each project, the length of time each staff member is assigned to each project, and the different salary rates which those staff members are paid. In the second, or month mode, the user presses one or more month switches in the group 18, and the board calculates the partial cost, for those months, of all projects entered on the board, taking the same overhead, salary, and staff assignment information into account. In the third, or hybrid mode, the user presses one or more project switches and one or more month switches, to calculate the partial cost of the selected projects over the selected months, taking all information into account. In the fourth, or total mode, the user presses the total switch, and the board calculates the total cost of all projects for the entire twelve month period, again taking all information into account. In each case, the resulting cost figure calculated is displayed on the read-out 16.

Selector circuit 94 also responds to the project plugs 30B in such a manner that the selection gate 92 takes account of the number of staff members assigned to each particular project. For example, in FIG. 1 the first project plug 30B in column P has two staff plugs corresponding thereto in column S, the first staff plug being in the same horizontal row as the project plug, and the other being on the immediately following row. In such a situation, circuit 94 assures that the project plug will remain effective while its own horizontal row and all the following rows relating to that project have been scanned.

The quantity entered into the read-out 16 represents the total number of pulses accumulated by the accumulator counter 40 over a single complete scan of all horizontal lines in the board 12 (although gate 92 is not necessarily open during that entire scan). At the end of a complete scan, a pulse on a lead 98 resets the accumulator counter 40 to zero, and a new pulse accumulation cycle begins with the start of the next scan of board 12. During each board scan, the read-out 16 retains the total cost accumulated during the preceding scan, until it is cleared and reset when a new cost is arrived at upon the conclusion of the next scan.

Gates 42 progressively increase the weights of the clock pulses accumulated, by applying these pulses to successively more significant decades of counter 40. The increased pulse weight permits the counting interval of counter 46, and thus the "open" time of gate 44, to be correspondingly reduced, provided counter 78 is also satisfied more rapidly; i.e., gates 80 must apply clock pulses at successively greater weights to successively more significant decates of counter 78. Each of the counters 78 and 40 has three decades which count independently. In pre-setting counter 78, the level of the first decade is set equal to the least significant digit, the second decade to the next significant digit, and the last decade to the most significant digit, of a three digit number expressing the pre-set level. At the start of each week interval, only a first gate in circuit 80 is enabled, to pass the clock pulses (divided by five) only to the least significant decade of circuit 78; and at the same time, only a first gate in circuit 42 is enabled, to pass clock pulses only to the least significant decade of counter 40. At this time, the pulses counted represent ten cents each. When the least significant decade of counter 78 is satisfied, a signal on cable 102 disables the first gates and enables only the second gates of both circuits 80 and 42. Thereafter the pulses counted have a dollar weighting, and are passed to the next significant decades of counters 78 and 40, until that decade of counter 78 is satisfied. Then another signal on cable 102 disables the second gates and enables only the third gates of both circuits 80 and 42. Thereafter the same pulses counted have a ten dollar weighting, and are passed to a still more significant decade of the counters 78 and 40, until that decade (the most significant) of counter 78 is satisfied. The output of that most significant decade is then applied over lead 79 to counter 76 and to restore gates 80 and 42 to their initial conditions for the start of the next count cycle of counter 78.

The time saving which is thus achieved initially takes the form of shorter week intervals, i.e., the "set" times of flip-flop 70. In order for reductions in the lengths of the week intervals to be reflected in a shorter overall scanning time for each horizontal line 52 of the time field matrix, the passage of clock pulses to the horizontal scanner 54 is controlled by a horizontal scanner gate 100 enabled by the "reset" output of flip-flop 70 to advance the scanner 54 to the next week line 50 as soon as the previous week interval terminates. Conversely, the "set" condition of flip-flop 70 interrupts the progress of the scan during the performance of each weekly count by circuits 76 and 78.

The end result is that the time required for counting enough clock pulses to represent a given total cost is substantially reduced, because the counting of dollars and tens of dollars can be accomplished far more rapidly with dollar- and 10-dollar-weighted pulses, respectively, than it could be with dime-weighted pulses. But at the same time, dime resolution is preserved, by counting dime digits with dime-weighted pulses. As a result, both large and small totals can be calculated rapidly, and with uniformly fine resolution.

Detailed System Operation

FIG. 3 is simplified, to permit the reader more easily to grasp the broad outlines of the system. For a fuller explanation, the reader's attention is now directed to FIGS. 4A through 4E, which constitute a complete block diagram, and to FIGS. 6 through 10 which show additional circuit detail.

As seen in FIG. 7, the detailed circuit of the clock 48 includes a free-running multivibrator or other oscillator circuit 48.1 driving a two-stage Johnson counter formed of flip-flops 120 and 122. The flip-flop outputs are decoded into four clock phases by a one-out-of-four decoder 48.3 comprising coincidence gates 124 through 127 whose input terminals are connected to the outputs of flip-flops 120 and 122 in the appropriate code pattern.

Clock "phase 1," the output of gate 124, is used to step the horizontal scanner 54. Clock "phase 2," the output of gate 125, is the pulse stream passed intermittently by the computation control gate 44, and conveyed over lead 121 to the input of accumulator counter 40. It also is applied to the "divide by five" circuit 82, to generate a pulse stream designated "phase 2/5" which steps the salary counter 78. Clock "phase 3," the output of gate 126, is a pulse which occurs once at the end of each complete scan of the time field matrix 50,52. It is used to strobe the read-out 16, to reset the horizontal scanner 54 after each horizontal scan, to generate "start" and "stop" pulses traceable to the staff assignment plugs 31, to gate the salary count output on lead 79, and to synchronize the operation of the project counter 76. Clock "phase 4," the output of gate 127, is a pulse which recurs at a "weekly" rate (in the sense in which the horizontal scan is quantized by increments regarded as weeks). These pulses are used to synchronize: the reset of a horizontal scan flip-flop; a general purpose end-of-board-scan "reset" signal; the "start" and "stop week interval" signals; and the start of each week interval salary rate count.

Looking next at FIGS. 4B and 7, the numerical read-out 16 displays the results of the cost calculation when strobed by a "read-out" command appearing on a lead 110 when a coincidence gate 112 is enabled. The logical condition which enables this gate is the coincidence of three signals. One of these signals, which appears on lead 144, and is labeled "after horizontal scan," occurs after the completion of the scan of each horizontal line 52. Another signal is applied over a lead 131, and is labeled "start horizontal scan;" that signal appears at the start of the scan of the next horizontal line 52. The third signal is a clocking pulse labeled "phase 3," which is one of the four output phases available from the clock circuit 48. Clock "phase 3" appears once at the end of each complete scan of the entire display board 12. Thus, gate 112 assures that the numerical read-out 16 is strobed to read out the cost calculation only after the end of the scan of the last horizontal line of the board.

At the time that the "read-out" signal appears on lead 110, the individual decimal digits of the cost calculation, representing units of dollars through millions of dollars, are supplied in appropriately coded form by respective decades 40.2 through 40.8 of the accumulator counter 40 over respective input cables 113.0 through 113.6. The information is then decoded according to the requirements of the read-out 16 by respective decoder circuits 114.0 through 114.6, and is supplied over cables 118.0 through 118.6 to read-out stages 16.0 through 16.6 respectively. As seen in FIG. 7, the read-out 16 displays, for example, a cost figure of $3,947,685.

The weight of these pulses counted varies, depending upon whether they are being fed at any given moment to a dime decade 40.1, a dollar decade 40.2, or the subsequent decades 40.3 through 40.8 which recognize the clock "phase 2" pulses as having a weight of ten dollars each. Counter stages 40.3 through 40.8 are cascaded in the conventional manner, so that their respective outputs represent tens of dollars through millions of dollars respectively.

The application of the clock "phase 2" pulses to the various counter stages is governed by decade control gates 42. Initially a dime counter input coincidence gate 42.1 is enabled by an input labeled "LSD unsatisfied" on a lead 238, so that the pulses on lead 121 pass through the gate to be counted by the dime decade counter 40.1. Each time this counter is satisfied, and during the interval when the input "LSD unsatisfied" is still available on lead 238, the overflow output pulses from dime counter 40.1 pass through a dime counter output coincidence gate 42.4 and a dollar counter input OR gate 42.2 to the input of a dollar decade counter 40.2. As a result, every ten dimes counted by decade 40.1 is registered as a dollar in decade 40.2.

A switch-over in pulse weight occurs when the input "LSD unsatisfied" disappears from lead 238, thus disabling dime counter input and output gates 42.1 and 42.4 respectively, and in its place there appears on lead 240 an input labeled "LSD satisfied" which, together with a second input labeled "NSD unsatisfied" initially appearing on lead 246, enables a dollar counter input coincidence gate 42.3. This takes the dime counter 40.1 out of the counting chain, and passes the clock "phase 2" pulses directly through gates 42.3 and 42.2 to the dollar counter 40.2. At this point, the same "phase 2" pulses which were previously counted as dimes by decade 40.1 now go directly to decade 40.2, where they are counted as dollars.

During the time that the gate input "NSD unsatisfied" is available on lead 246, a 10-dollar counter input coincidence gate 42.6 is enabled to pass the overflow outputs of dollar counter 40.2 to a ten dollar counter input OR gate 42.5 and then to a string of cascaded decade counter stages 40.3 through 40.8, which count tens through millions of dollars respectively.

Later the output "NSD unsatisfied" disappears from lead 246, and is replaced by an input labeled "NSD satisfied" on lead 256. Then gates 42.3 and 42.6 are both disabled, taking the dollar counter 40.2 out of the counting chain; and a ten dollar counter input coincidence gate 42.7 is enabled, with the help of an input labeled "MSD unsatisfied" which is initially available on a lead 270, to pass the clock "phase 2" pulses directly through gates 42.7 and 42.5 to the tens through millions of dollars string of decades 40.3 through 40.8. At this point the clock "phase 2" pulses have a weight of 10 dollars each. Higher decimal orders are obtained by the cascading of decades 40.3 through 40.8; note leads 116.3 through 116.7 which apply the overflow outputs of decades 40.3 through 40.7 respectively to the inputs of their respective next higher order decades.

The output of the dime counter 40.1 is not displayed on the read-out 16, since there is no need to display large amounts of money to dime resolution. The output of the dime counter is used only to step the dollar counter 40.2 via gate 42.4, and the dollar digit is the lowest decimal order displayed.

The reader's attention is directed next to the manner in which the computation control gate 44 governs the clock pulse stream in response to the start and stop plugs 31. With reference to FIGS. 4C and 8, it is seen that the scanning of the time field matrix 50,52 is accomplished by a horizontal scanner 54 and a vertical scanner 56. The vertical scanner includes a counter 56.1, a one-out-of-57 decoder 56.2 and 56 coincidence gates 56.3. The horizontal scanner includes a counter 54.1 and a one-out-of-50 decoder 54.2.

The counter 54.1 is driven by clock "phase 1" pulses whenever the latter are able to pass through the horizontal scan coincidence gate 100. This gate is enabled when it receives an input signal on a lead 172, labeled "not accumulating." This signal appears when the accumulator counter 40 is not presently accumulating cost pulses. Only at such times can the scanner 54 be advanced to the next week line 50 without cutting short the previous week's pulse accumulation.

Each clock "phase 1" pulse that passes through the gate 100 advances the horizontal scan counter 54.1 one increment. At all times the current quantity in the counter 54.1 is stored in six flip-flop stages 134, and read out as a six-bit binary coded word in bit parallel form on respective leads 132 going to the horizontal scan decoder 54.2. This circuit decodes the quantities one through 50 as they are read out successively on the leads 132, and applies the outputs to energize in turn: a lead 131; the 48 lines 50; and a lead 133. The signal on lead 131 (labeled "start horizontal scan") appears once at the start of each horizontal scan to provide a synchronizing pulse employed at various places throughout the computing circuit. The 48 leads 50 (labeled "W1" through "W48" respectively) are the sequentially energized vertical week conductors of the time field matrix, representing the 48 weeks in a simplified year. Lead 133 (labeled "end of horizontal scan") is energized once at the end of each horizontal scan. After the "start horizontal scan" signal on lead 131 terminates, i.e., while the scan of leads 50 and 133 is in progress, an inverter stage 135 provides a "horizontal scan" signal on an output lead 137 to indicate that the scan is then going on.

For each week conductor 50 which is energized at a given instant, if that conductor has a start or stop plug 31 in the time field matrix, the voltage on the conductor 50 is connected unidirectionally through the diode 31C of that plug to the associated one of the 56 horizontal project and staff conductors 52. Then, if that conductor 52 has a staff plug 32, the voltage is connected by the plug diode 32A of its fixed prong 32 to the associated one of 56 leads 51 leading to the associated one of the 56 coincidence gates 56.3 which form part of the vertical scanner 56.

In this illustrative embodiment of the invention, the specific choice of 56 horizontal staff lines 52 and 56 gates 56.3 means the board 12 is designed to accommodate up to 56 different staff members. Any one project can have from one to 56 staff members assigned thereto as long as the total number of staff members assigned to all the projects does not exceed 56. Thus there is a possibility of up to 56 different week-staff assignment outputs labeled "WS1" through "WS56" issuing from the horizontal lines 52 of the time field matrix and passing over leads 51 to their respective vertical scan gates 56.3.

The vertical scan is accomplished by energizing each of the 56 gates 56.3 in the proper sequence to pass any signals "WS1" through "WS56" which may be present, in that order. The enabling signals to the gates 56.3 are provided by the vertical scan counter 56.1, comprising six flip-flop stages 136 the outputs of which are decoded by the one-out-of-57 circuit 56.2 to energize each of 57 conductors 138.1 through 138.57 in that order. The first 56 of these decoder output conductors 138.1 through 138.56 enable the 56 vertical scan gates 56.3 to pass the signals "WS1" through "WS56" in succession.

Counter 56.1 is stepped to achieve the described gate-enabling sequence by pulses applied over a lead 140, and derived from the "end of horizontal scan" signal on lead 133. This counter stepping pulse is controlled by a vertical scan coincidence gate 142, which is enabled by a signal on lead 172 indicating a "not accumulating" condition of the counter 40 between horizontal scans, and the next clock "phase 2" pulse after a horizontal scan.

The output of the gate 142 is also applied over a lead 144 as an "after horizontal scan" signal which performs several functions in the computing system. One of these is to set a horizontal scan flip-flop 146, the "set" output of which enables a coincidence gate 148 so that the next clock "phase 3" pulse emerges on a lead 150 to reset all the flip-flop stages 134 of the horizontal scan counter 54.1. This restores the counter to a zero count for the start of the next horizontal scan. The horizontal scan flip-flop 146 is later reset by the next clock "phase 4" pulse.

At the conclusion of each vertical, or entire board scan, the decoder 56.2 provides an "end of board scan" signal on its 57th and last output lead 138.57. That signal passes through a coincidence gate 152, when it is enabled by the signal on lead 172 (indicating that the accumulator counter 40 is "not accumulating" between week intervals), the "start horizontal scan" signal on lead 131, and clock "phase 4." Thus, after the last week of the last horizontal scan in each complete scan of board 12, as the first horizontal scan of the next complete board scan is about to start, a clock "phase 4" pulse enables gate 152, thus driving an amplifier 154 to provide a general purpose "reset" signal on an output lead 98.2 which is employed throughout the system at the end of each complete board scan. One of the functions of this signal is to reset all the flip-flop stages 136 of the vertical scan counter 56.1 at the end of a complete board scan. Another of its functions is to reset all the decades 40.1 through 40.8 of the accumulator counter 40 (see FIGS. 4B and 7). Other functions will appear as this description continues.

Any pulses "WS1" through "WS56" which are passed by the vertical scan gates 56.3 appear on respective gate output leads 160.1 through 160.56 and are all funneled through an OR gate 162 and applied over an output lead 164 to the selection gate 92. That gate responds to the "selection" signal on a lead 166 to pass the pulses "WS1" through "WS56" over a lead 167 in accordance with the operating mode determined by the selector circuit 94, as described below.

As seen in FIGS. 4E and 10, the "WS1" through "WS56" pulses on lead 167 pass through a coincidence gate 170 when the latter is enabled by: a signal on lead 172 coming from the "reset" output of the week interval flip-flop 70, representing the "not accumulating" condition of the accumulator counter 40; a synchronizing pulse from clock "phase 3"; and the "horizontal scan" signal on lead 137, indicating that such a scan is in progress. The latter signal, which is the inverse of the "start horizontal scan" signal on lead 131 (FIGS. 4C and 8), insures that the signals detected on lead 167 by gate 170 are truly "WS1 - WS56" signals. Because of the mutually exclusive time relationship between the "start horizontal scan" signal on lead 131 and the "W1" through "W48" horizontal scan signals on week lines 50, "P1-P56" pulses derived from leads 200 are time-multiplexed with the "WS1-WS56" pulses on leads 52, 51, 160, 164, and 167. Thus, although they share these conductors in the physical domain, the "P1-P56" and "WS1-WS56"signals are separated in the time domain, and thus can be easily sorted out by gating with the signal on lead 131, or its complement on lead 137, respectively.

The output of gate 170 is applied as the "start-stop staff assignment" signal over a lead 174 to toggle a staff assignment flip-flop 60.1. This flip-flop is initially in a "reset" condition; therefore the first plug 31 pulse to hit the "toggle" input during a horizontal scan (the "start staff assignment" signal) sets the flip-flop. The "set" output then appears on a lead 175 and passes through an OR gate 176 to provide one of the enabling inputs for the week interval coincidence gate 46. The other logical conditions for enabling gate 46 are the "not accumulating" signal on lead 172, indicating that the accumulator counter 40 is not presently accumulating, and an input on a lead 178 labeled "M1 - M12," indicating that the currently scanned one of the twelve months in the year has been included in the computation by means of the manual selector switches 18. When all these conditions are satisfied, the next clock "phase 4" input (which occurs "weekly" on lead 72) passes through the week interval gate 46 and emerges on lead 180 as the "start week interval" signal to set the week interval flip-flop 70 for the current week count. The "set" output of this flip-flop, appearing on lead 182, represents the "accumulating" condition of the accumulator counter 40. One of its function is to enable the computation control gate 44, as discussed above in connection with FIGS. 4B and 7. Thus, setting the flip-flop 60.1 starts an accumulation interval for the counter 40 when a horizontal scan of the time field matrix 50, 52 detects the first, or start plug 31, and results in a first "WS1" to "WS56" pulse.

The next plug 31, resulting in a second gate output signal ("stop staff assignment") on lead 174 to flip-flop 60.1, toggles that flip-flop back to "reset" and thereby terminates the "set" output on lead 175 which had passed through gate 176 to enable gate 46. But in the design of this illustrative computing system, an arbitrary choice has been made that the accumulating interval of counter 40 shall include both the initial and terminal weeks, i.e., the week lines having both the start and the stop plugs 31 respectively. (This means that the minimum staff assignment interval is two weeks, represented by a pair of start and stop plugs 31 located in consecutive week positions.) In order to keep the week interval coincidence gate 46 enabled during the terminal week, after staff assignment flip-flop 60.1 is reset, there is provided a terminal week staff assignment flip-flop 60.2. The first, or start plug 31 pulse, when it emerges from gate 170, appears on a lead 191 and is applied as a "set" input to the initially reset terminal week staff assignment flip-flop 60.2. The latter then remains in the "set" condition through the terminal week interval of the staff assignment period. While it is in that condition, a "set" output appears on lead 188 and transits the OR gate 176 to enable the week interval gate 46 during the terminal week interval.

At the end of each week interval, a "stop week interval" signal appears on a lead 193. If a coincidence gate 197 is then enabled, it provides an output to reset the flip-flop 60.2. The gate 197 in turn is enabled by a "reset" output signal from flip-flop 60.1, applied over a lead 189, which becomes available when flip-flop 60.1 is reset at the start of the terminal week interval. Therefore the first of the signals appearing on lead 193 which finds both flip-flop 60.2 set and gate 197 enabled is the one occurring at the end of the terminal week interval. Thus the terminal week flip-flop 60.2 is reset at that time, to restore its initial condition and terminate the signal on lead 188. Consequently, after the terminal week neither of the input leads to OR gate 176 is energized, and there is no longer an output from that OR gate to enable the week interval gate 46. Thus the following weeks are excluded from the computation, until the next start plug 31 appears.

It is possible to use more than one pair of start and stop plugs 31 on a single horizontal line to represent two or more staff assignment intervals, with a hiatus of a week or more between them. This corresponds to one staff member working intermittently on the same project.

The staff assignment flip-flop 60.1 and 60.2 must always be "reset" at the beginning of each horizontal scan, in order for the first plug 31 of each pair to be recognized as a "start" plug by setting the flip-flops, and the second plug of each pair to be recognized as a "stop" plug by resetting them. This initial condition is assured by a signal arriving over a lead 186 which resets both flip-flops if they were previously set. This signal can be derived by means of an OR gate 184 in two alternative ways. One is from the "after horizontal scan" pulse, which appears on lead 144; thus if the user neglects to put a stop plug 31 where required on the display board 12, then after each horizontal scan of 48 weeks has been completed, flip-flops 60.1 and 60.2 will be reset. Secondly, as further insurance, at the end of each complete board scan, when a general "reset" signal appears on lead 98.2, it comes through the OR gate 184 and over lead 186 to reset the flip-flops 60.1 and 60.2, if necessary. If the flip-flops have already been reset, e.g., by a stop plug 31, the signals on lead 186 will not affect them.

This calculating display board can be used in a month mode, i.e., calculating partial costs for all projects within a selected time frame consisting of one or more consecutive months which the operator selects by means of switches 18. In that mode, it is possible for a start plug 31 to be detected before the scan of the selected time frame begins. In that case, staff assignment flip-flops 60.1 and 60.2 are set too soon, but do not take effect until the "M1-M12" signal appears on lead 178 to enable the week interval gate 46.

It is also possible, in that operating mode, for a stop plug 31 to be detected after the scan of the selected time frame ends. In that case, no "weekly" signal on lead 72 can transit the gate 46 to set flip-flop 70 in any week after the end of the selected time frame, because gate 46 is then deprived of its enabling "M1-M12" signal on lead 178. Therefore, after the scan passes beyond the selected time frame, no week interval can be started.

But this technique of blocking the start of a week interval also blocks the production of the signal on lead 193 which normally resets flip-flop 60.2; due to the fact that that signal is generated only at the end of a week interval which has been started and has run its course. Therefore a special flip-flop reset signal, derived from the "M1-M12" signal on lead 178 and an inverter stage 192, arrives over a lead 195 to reset the flip-flop 60.2 when the signal on lead 178 turns off, indicating that there is no longer a month of interest being scanned (i.e., the selected time frame is now over). Note that this logic assumes the months of the selected time frame are consecutive, with no hiatus between them (which is what the operator would normally want). Note also that flip-flop 60.2 must reset only in response to a sudden voltage transition on lead 195, in order to ignore the steady voltage which appears on that lead prior to the start of a selected time frame, as opposed to the sudden appearance of that same voltage which occurs only at the termination of such a time frame.

It will now be understood that an accumulation interval of counter 40 consists of two or more week intervals during which the staff assignment start and stop plugs 31 permit one of the staff assignment flip-flops 60.1 or 60.2 to be set, and the week interval gate 46 is enabled by the "M1-M12" signal. At the start of each week interval during such an accumulation interval, a clock "phase 4" pulse on lead 72 passes through the gate 46 and emerges on lead 180 to set the week interval flip-flop 70. Then that flip-flop remains set, permitting the accumulation of pulses by counter 40 to continue, for a period of time which is proportional to: (1) the overhead factor applicable to the particular project, and (2) the salary rate applicable to the particular staff member represented by the particular horizontal line 52 which is currently being scanned. At the end of that proportional time period, a "stop week interval" signal appears on lead 74 and resets the flip-flop 70. Subsequently, the horizontal scanner 54 moves on to energize the next vertical week line 50; if the start and stop plugs 31 still permit one of the flip-flops 60.1 or 60.2 to remain set and gate 46 is still enabled by the "M1-M12" signal, then the cycling of the flip-flop 70 period is repeated for that same proportional time in that next week interval. This recycling of flip-flop 70 to create successive week intervals continues until the staff assignment time or the selected time frame ends.

The reader's attention is next directed to FIGS. 4E and 10 for an explanation of the circuitry which makes the "set" interval of the flip-flop 70 proportional to the project overhead factor. Running horizontally behind the project column P of display board 12 are the 56 conductors 160.1 through 160.56 (see FIGS. 4C and 8 as well as FIGS. 4E and 10) labeled "P1" through "P56" to correspond respectively to 56 different project plug lines 200 in FIGS. 4C and 8. When their respective vertical scan gates 56.1 to 56.3 are enabled, these conductors 160 are pulsed at the start of their horizontal scans with respective signals "P1" through "P56" traceable to the associated line 51, fixed prong diode 32A (if there is a staff plug 30A on that line), line 52, fixed prong diode 32B (if there is a project plug 30B on that horizontal line), project conductor 200, and the "start horizontal scan" signal appearing on lead 131. Note again that, because of the mutually exclusive time relationship between the "start horizontal scan" signal on lead 131 and the "W1" through "W48" horizontal scan signals on week lines 50, the "P1-P56" pulses are time-multiplexed with the "WS1-WS56" pulses on leads 52, 51, 160, 164, and 167. Thus, although they share the same conductors in the physical domain, the "P1-P56" and "WS1-WS56" signals are separated in the time domain, and thus can be easily sorted out by gating with the signal on lead 131, or its complement on lead 137, respectively.

As seen in FIGS. 4E and 10, the conductors 160 cross with 10 project overhead factor lines 202, labeled with overhead factor quantities "0.5" through "1.4" respectively. The latter conductors are arranged vertically, and cooperate with conductors 160 to form a project factor selector matrix behind column P of the display board 12. The project overhead factor quantities progress in steps of 0.1 from a low of 0.5 to a high of 1.4. The selected one of these factors for a given project is to be employed as a multiplier in calculating that project's cost.

At each intersection of the matrix 160-202 a project plug 30B can be inserted, so that the movable prong diode 34B thereof makes a uni-directional connection from one of the lines 160 to one of the lines 202. Which one of the 10 overhead factor lines 202 is connected to a given one of the project lines 160 depends upon which of its ten alternative positions the movable prong 34 (FIG. 2A) occupies in the associated project plug 30B.

When a connection is made at a particular matrix intersection, the relevant "P1-P56" pulse applied to the currently selected one of the project conductors 160 is connected to the appropriate one of the overhead factor conductors 202. The latter conductors lead (in the appropriate code pattern) to the inputs of a 10-to-four binary encoder circuit 204 comprising four OR gates 208. The outputs of these gates represent a four-bit binary-coded word representing the selected project overhead factor for the project line which is currently selected by one of the scanner gates 56.3. Thus an output word emerges from the encoder 204 over a four-strand cable 90, and is applied through four coincidence gates 208 to the four flip-flop stages 210 of a project factor register 212.

Each time the gates 208 are enabled by a "load" signal on lead 349, the selected project factor quantity is loaded into the register 212. That "load" signal is generated once for each horizontal line having a project plug 30B, and is not generated at all for horizontal lines having no project plug. Note also that the "load" must be synchronized with the "P1-P56" pulses on the leads 160.1 through 160.56, (see FIGS. 4C and 8) so that the desired project conductor 160 is energized during the "start horizontal scan" signal arriving over lead 131, leads 200 and project plug diodes 32B, and not by a mere accidental connection of one of the week signals "W1-W48" from leads 50 through the stop-start plug diodes 31C. The circuitry for accomplishing this is part of selector 94, FIGS. 4D and 9, and is discussed subsequently. Consequently, a new project overhead factor is loaded into the register 212 only when a new project plug 30B is detected, indicating that the currently scanned horizontal line represents a different project from the previous horizontal line. While any horizontal line which is between project plugs is being scanned, the project factor quantity which is attributable to the last detected project plug 30B, on a previous horizontal line, remains in the register 212. This permits each staff member represented by an "in-between" line to be attributed to the project represented by that last project plug.

Each time that the "start week interval" signal appears on the lead 180, it is applied over a lead 214 which enables four coincidence gates 216 to load the four bits of the project factor word in register 212 into four flip-flop stages 218 of the project factor counter 76. The latter is a countdown counter; after being loaded with the appropriate project factor quantity, it counts down to zero as it is pulsed by input lead 79. A coincidence gate 222 has four input leads 224 connected to the respective "reset" outputs of all the counter flip-flops 218, to detect when circuit 76 has counted down to zero. After this happens, the next clock "phase 4" pulse passes through the gate 222 and emerges on lead 74 as the "stop week interval" pulse which resets the flip-flop 70.

The length of time that the flip-flop 70 remains set depends upon the magnitude of the project factor quantity loaded into the counter 76, since for a given pulse repetition rate on lead 79 a larger initial quantity loaded into the counter requires a longer countdown interval. Specifically, for the lowest project factor quantity of 0.5, the counter 76 is set to five; for a project factor quantity of 0.6, six is the setting; and so on up to the maximum project factor quantity of 1.4, which requires a setting of 14.

For the source of the signal on lead 79 which pulses the project factor counter 76, the reader is directed to FIGS. 4A and 6, which show circuitry designed to make the "set" interval of the flip-flop 70 proportional to the staff salary rate by controlling the pulse repetition rate on lead 79. The daily salary rate counter 78 has three independent decades respectively representing three decimal digits: the least significant digit (LSD), the next significant digit (NSD), and the most significant digit (MSD); of a daily salary rate quantity which is loaded into the counter 78. The LSD decade consists of four interconnected flip-flop stages 78.1 through 78.4; the NSD decade consists of four similarly interconnected flip-flop stages 78.10 through 78.40; and the MSD decade consists of four more similarly interconnected flip-flop stages 78.100 through 78.400.

After an appropriate daily salary rate quantity is loaded into the counter 78 (by means subsequently described), a stream of pulses designated "phase 2/5" is applied to the LSD stage over a lead 242, LSD coincidence gate 80.1, and lead 230. An LSD control flip-flop 232 is initially reset, providing an output labeled "LSD unsatisfied" on lead 238 which enables gate 80.1. This flip-flop is later set by a signal appearing on a lead 234, which is the output of a coincidence gate 236 having four inputs connected to the respective "reset" outputs of all four LSD flip-flop stages 78.1 through 78.4. These leads are all energized when all the LSD flip-flops are reset, and therefore the LSD decade has been counted down to zero. At this point, when the flip-flop 232 is set, it turns off the "reset" output on lead 238, labeled "LSD unsatisfied," and provides instead a "set" output on lead 240, labeled "LSD satisfied."

Consequently the "phase 2/5" pulses entering the salary rate counter 78 are switched from counting down the LSD decade to counting down the NSD decade. This occurs because the "LSD unsatisfied" signal on lead 238 is no longer available to enable gate 80.1, through which the pulse stream has been passed to the LSD decade; and instead the "LSD satisfied" output is applied over lead 244 to an NSD coincidence gate 80.2. At this time the "NSD unsatisfied" signal is also available on lead 246 from the "reset" output of an initially reset NSD control flip-flop 248 to enable the gate 80.2. Consequently, that gate is enabled; and the pulses available on lead 242 are passed over a lead 250 to the NSD decade.

When the NSD decade is counted down to zero, this condition is detected in the same manner as for the LSD decade. The "reset" output leads of all the NSD counter flip-flops 78.10 through 78.40 are connected to a coincidence gate 252, the output of which appears on lead 254, and sets flip-flop 248.

At this point, the "NSD unsatisified" output provided on lead 246 is cut off, disabling the NSD gate 80.2, and terminating the passage of pulses to the NSD stage. In its place, the "set" side of flip-flop 248 provides an "NSD unsatisfied" signal on lead 256. This output is applied over a lead 258 to the input of an MSD coincidence gate 80.3 which controls the passage of the count pulses from lead 242 to the input of the MSD decade. An additional input for the gate 80.3 is obtained over lead 260; this "MSD unsatisfied" signal comes from the "reset" output lead of an MSD control flip-flop 262, which is initially reset.

While gate 80.3 is enabled, the "phase 2/5" pulses are applied for counting down the MSD decade over lead 264. Then, after the MSD decade has been counted down to zero, the "reset" outputs of all the MSD flip-flop stages 78.100 through 78.400 coincide at the inputs to a coincidence gate 266, which then provides an output on lead 268 to set the flip-flop 262. This terminates the output on lead 260, and disables gate 80.3. At this moment no further pulses are counted by the salary rate counter 78, and the salary rate countdown is over. The "set" output from the MSD control flip-flop 262 appears as an "MSD satisfied" signal on a lead 270. Then when the next clock "phase 3" pulse appears, coincidence gate 271 applies to lead 79 a signal labeled "salary count completed".

This signal is applied over a lead 272 to an amplifier 274, the output of which appears on a lead 98.1 to provide a "salary reset" signal. The latter restores the initial conditions in the salary count circuitry by resetting all twelve counter flip-flop stages 78.1 through 78.400, as well as the three decade control flip-flops 232, 248 and 262. As a result, the next salary count cycle begins with all flip-flops in the initial condition assumed in the preceding discussion.

The "salary count completed" output on lead 79 is the signal which is applied (FIGS. 4E and 10) to drive the project factor counter 76. A full countdown cycle of the salary counter 78 is therefore necessary to generate each pulse to the project counter 76. This makes the drive pulse repetition rate to the project counter 76 inversely proportional to the initial setting of the salary counter 78, because the duration of each countdown cycle of counter 78 depends upon the magnitude of the salary rate quantity initially loaded into it. Therefore a large salary rate causes pulses on lead 79 to be produced more slowly. This in turn means that more time is required to satisfy counter 76. Thus, the total countdown time for the counter string 78, 76 is proportional to the product of the project factor quantity and the salary rate quantity. Since the length of this countdown time permits a proportional number of pulses to be accumulated by the accumulator counter 40, it follows that the ultimate quantity accumulated for each horizontal line scan is proportional to the project overhead factor and staff salary rate applicable to that horizontal line.

Returning for a moment to FIGS. 4B and 7, it will now be appreciated that the salary counter decade control flip-flops 232, 248 and 262 just discussed in connection with FIGS. 4A and 6 are the source of the gate-enabling signals "LSD unsatisfied" through "MSD satisfied" appearing on leads 238, 244, 246, 256, 260 and 270 respectively which enable the accumulator counter decade control gates 42.1, 42.3, 42.4, 42.6 and 42.7 at the proper times. As a result, the value or monetary weight (10ยข, $1 or $10) of the salary-representing pulses entering counter 78 at any moment is equal to that of the cost-representing pulses entering the accumulator counter 40. In other words, the same decade gate control signals are employed for the two counters so that they progress from decade to decade in step with each other, as required for proper computation.

Note also that the quantity loaded into the salary counter 78 is a daily salary rate. But the clock "phase 2" pulses used to drive the accumulator counter 40 represent cost increments on a weekly basis, because the horizontal scan is quantized on the basis of weeks. Therefore a factor of one fifth must be introduced into the calculation to match the cost pulse accumulation rate to the daily salary count rate. The pulses employed to count down the salary rate quantity in counter 78 are also clock "phase 2" pulses derived from the output of gate 44, but their repetition rate is divided by five in the frequency divider circuit 82 before being applied as the "phase 2/5" pulse stream to the lead 242, gates 80, and counter 78.

Next the reader's attention is directed to FIGS. 4A, 6 and 7 for an explanation as to how the proper daily salary rate quantity for a given staff member is entered as the initial setting of the counter 78. Entering the decades LSD, NSD, and MSD of the salary counter are four-strand loading cables 280.1, 280.2 and 280.3 respectively. Each strand of each cable represents one bit of a four-bit word loaded in bit-parallel form into the associated counter decade, and each word represents one binary-coded decimal digit of the salary quantity. The three decimal digits (LSD, NSD and MSD) together represent a salary rate in the range from $00.00 to $99.90 per day, with $0.10 resolution in the least significant digit. The cables 280 lead out of a daily salary rate matrix 280, 286 in which the strands of cables 280 are uni-directionally connected by diodes 284 to the strands of cables 286 leading from rotary contact discs 288 of the salary rate switches 86 (see also FIG. 5). Each cable 286 has four strands carrying a four-bit binary-coded word in bit-parallel from, representing one of the binary-coded decimal digits of salary quantity which is to be transmitted over one of the cables 280 to one of the counter decades LSD, NSD or MSD. Each of the contact discs 288 is a manually rotatable contact encoder device which distributes a voltage from a single input line 290 to the proper coded combination of four output lines in a cable 286, to represent a selected decimal digit in binary-coded form. The encoded decimal digit is displayed through a switch window 292 by means of a wheel 294 which rotates with the contact disc 288.

In a preferred embodiment of this invention, provision is made for ten different daily salary rate categories. The first category is represented by a group of three switches 86.11, 86.12, and 86.13; which encode the least significant, next significant and most significant decimal digits of the daily salary rate respectively. All three switches of the first category are energized by a single input lead 290.1. There is a similar bank of three switches 86 and a similar common input lead 290 for each of the 10 salary rate categories, up through the tenth category for which an input lead 290.10 energizes switches 86.101, 86.102 and 86.103, The number of salary rate categories available is limited to the precise number of input leads 290 and associated groups of three salary rate switches 86 which are provided. But the actual salary rate attributed to each category is variable at will, by manual rotation of the appropriate switch contact discs 288 to select the desired information which is transmitted over the cables 280 to the salary counter 78.

Once the salary rate for each of the ten categories has been selected in this manner, the determination of which category is loaded into the counter 78 is made by selecting one of 10 alternative salary rate signal inputs "SR1" through "SR10" to be applied to the associated one of the input lines 290.1 through 290.10 respectively. The energization of these input lines in turn is controlled by respective gates 292.1 through 292.10 (FIGS. 4A and 7), which derive their respective signal inputs "SR1" through "SR10" from leads 294.1 through 294.10 respectively. These leads 294 are oriented vertically, and located behind the staff column S of display board 12. They are selectively energized from a matrix formed by crossing with conductors 296 oriented horizontally behind column S of the board 12.

Particular cross-over points at which conductors 296 are connected to selected ones of the conductors 294 are determined by the movable diode prongs 34A of the staff plugs 30A in column S. There are, in the preferred embodiment described herein, 56 different horizontal conductors 296, one for each of the 56 different staff lines extending horizontally across the board 12. Each horizontal conductor 296 represents one staff member insofar as he is assigned to one of the projects, and all are energized by the same "start horizontal scan" signal on lead 131. If a particular horizontal conductor 296 has a staff plug 30A in column S, then the diode 34A of that particular plug will couple the "start horizontal scan" signal to a selected one of the vertical conductors 294.1 through 294.10. The choice of a particular one of these conductors depends upon the position of the movable prong 34 of that plug 30A (see FIG. 2A). The prong can be placed in any one of ten holes, each one positioned to select a different one of the conductors 294.1 through 294.10 respectively.

Thus, the position of the prong 34 determines the salary category by selecting a particular conductor 294, which in turn selects a particular gate 292 and a particular input lead 290, which in turn selects a particular group of three salary rate switches 86. Then the particular salary rate which is encoded by those switches is loaded into the salary counter 78 over the cables 280.

The timing of the loading of the salary counter 78 is accomplished by enabling all the gates 292 with a pulse labeled "start salary count" appearing on a lead 300, which is the output of a coincidence gate 302. That gate is enabled whenever an input is present on lead 182, signifying that the counter 40 is accumulating, a synchronizing clock "phase 4" signal is present, and a pulse is available from lead 79 indicating that the previous salary count has been completed.

The reader's attention is next directed to FIGS. 4D and 9, which illustrate the operation of the selection circuit 94, by means of which the operator can use the manual mode selector switches 18 to enable gate 92 (FIGS. 3, 4C and 8) in a manner which determines whether the device calculates a cost for one or more projects over an entire year (project mode), a cost for all projects in a selected time frame (month mode), a hydrid mode calculation selecting some (consecutive) months and some projects, or a total for all projects for the entire year (total mode).

The signals on the 48 individual week leads 50, designated "W1" through "W48" respectively, which emerge from the time field matrix as seen in FIGS. 4C and 8, are supplied in that sequence by the horizontal scan decoder 54.2. These conductors are arranged into 12 groups of four, i.e., W1-W4 through W45-W48, and each group is connected to the input of a respective one of 12 OR gates 310. Thus the output of each gate 310 represents one of the twelve months of the year, "January" through "December"; and each one is individually controlled by one of 12 month switches 18.2, labeled "M1" through "M12" respectively. These are part of the group of manual selector switches 18 by which the operator selects the operating mode of the device; they specifically permit a selection of one or more consecutive months (referred to as a time frame) to be included in the calculation.

All the 12 switch outputs labeled "M1" through "M12" are connected to an OR gate 312. The output of that gate, designated "M1 - M12," appears on a lead 314 and represents the selection of any one or more months for inclusion in the computation. This output transits an OR gate 313 and emerges as the "M1 - M12" output thereof on lead 178.

An alternative way of generating such an output on lead 178 is provided for use in the situation where the operator is equally interested in all 12 months but does not want to go to the trouble of depressing all twelve of the month switches 18.2. A voltage on a terminal 311 is connected in series by leads 309 through sets of contacts on all twelve month switches 18.2 which are closed to complete the circuit when the switches are not depressed. Accordingly, if no switch 18.2 is depressed, the voltage on terminal 311 is connected through to appear as an "all months" signal on a lead 307, which then transits the OR gate 313 to emerge as the "M1 - M12" signal on lead 178. Whichever way it is generated, this signal is employed as described previously in connection with the staff assignment logic of FIGS. 4E and 10; and this constitutes the hybrid operating mode, more fully discussed below.

Lead 314 is also connected to one of the inputs of a coincidence gate 316. When gate 316 is enabled by a signal designated "month mode" appearing on lead 322, an "M1 - M12" signal appears on the gate output lead 318 and passes through an OR gate 320 to appear as a "selection" signal on output lead 166. This signal enables the selection gate 92 (discussed above in connection with FIGS. 4C and 8) when one line of the month (i.e., four-week group) currently being scanned is one which is selected (by switches 18.2) for inclusion in the cost calculation.

The "month mode" signal appearing on lead 322 is the output from another coincidence gate 324. The latter is enabled whenever an input appears simultaneously on each of fourteen input lines 326 leading from fourteen project switches 18.1 labeled "P1" through "P14" respectively. These switches are also part of the group of manual selector switches 18 by which the mode selection is made. For each one of the switches 18.1 which is not manually depressed, its associated lead 326 is connected by that switch to a terminal 328 which supplies a voltage needed for each input of the coincidence gate 316. When none of the project selector switches 18.1 is manually depressed, then that enabling voltage is applied to all of the leads 326, thus satisfying all inputs of coincidence gate 324. This causes the "month mode" signal to appear on output lead 322, and enable the gate 316. The operational interpretation of this event is that, when none of the fourteen possible projects "P1" through "P14" is selected by depressing the associated project switches 18.1, then the user of the calculating display board is understood to be equally interested in all projects. Thus, for ease of use, equal interest in all projects is indicated by depressing no project switches 18.1, rather than all of them. The gate 324 detects this condition, and enables gate 316 so that the month selection signal "M1 - M12" on lead 314 is gated through to appear as the selection output on lead 166. The designation "month mode" indicates that, when all projects are of equal interest, the month selection controls.

But if a particular one of more of the fourteen projects "P1 - P14" is selected, then gate 324 is not enabled, and the appropriate one or more of a group of fourteen project coincidence gates 330.1 through 330.14 is enabled instead. Depressing any of the project selector switches 18.1 causes a gate-enabling voltage from a terminal 332 to be connected through that switch, and the associated one of fourteen leads 333.1 through 333.14, to an input of the associated project gate 330. Then any incoming signal which arrives on the associated one of fourteen input leads 334.1 through 334.14 is passed by that project gate and issued as one or more of the project selection outputs labeled "P1" through "P14" appearing on leads 336.1 through 336.14 respectively. Any one or more of these project selection signals then passes through the OR gate 320 to appear as the "selection" output on lead 166 going to gate 92.

The depression of one or more project switches 18.1 constitutes a selection of those projects for inclusion in the computation, and disables the gate 316 so that month signals "M1 - M12" cannot reach the gate 320. If no month switch is depressed at this time, the device is operating in the project mode.

But if at the same time one or more month switches 18.2 representing consecutive months are depressed, the resulting "M1 - M12" signal on lead 178 has an effect (described previously) on the staff assignment logic of FIGS. 4E and 10, which superimposes that choice of months upon the previously described choice of projects. Then the accumulator counter 40 will count pulses only for the selected projects during the scan of the selected months. This constitutes the hybrid mode.

One further possibility for generating a "selection" output on lead 166 involves the depression of still another manual selector switch 18.3, so that a voltage on a terminal 360 is connected to an input of the OR gate 320 over a lead 362. The switch 18.3 is the "total switch;" and the signal on lead 362 is labeled "total" to indicate that it causes the cost calculator to operate in the total mode, i.e., to calculate a cost for all projects over the full year.

To summarize the selection of an operating mode, each time that the OR gate 320 issues a "selection" signal on lead 166, the selection gate 92 is enabled for a period during which any "WS1 - WS56" pulses issuing from the time field matrix 50, 52 can be gated out on lead 167 to start an accumulation interval of the counter 40. The selection circuit 94 does this in response to a project selection, a month selection, or a total of the entire board. The project selection consists of manually depressing one or more of the project selector buttons 18.1, so that when the appropriate horizontal project line 52 is scanned, the appropriate project gate 330 is enabled to supply a signal via OR gate 320 and lead 166 to the selection gate 92.

If none of the project selector switches 18.1 are depressed, then this condition is detected by the coincidence gate 324, providing a "month mode" signal on lead 322 which enables the gate 316, so that the presence of a "selection" signal on lead 166 then depends upon the operation of the month selector buttons 18.2. Any one or more of these can then be depressed to select consecutive months for which costs will be included in the calculation.

If a total for all projects and all months is desired, instead of depressing all twelve of the month switches 18.2, the operator can merely depress the total switch 18.3 to provide a "selection" output on lead 166 for enabling gate 92.

In addition, circuit 94 provides the "M1 - M12" signal on lead 178 which cooperates with the staff assignment logic of FIGS. 4E and 10 to permit operation in the hybrid (month and project) mode if both project and consecutive month switches are depressed.

In addition to mode selection, the circuit 94 also performs a project plug tracking or counting function which assists the project countdown circuitry of FIGS. 4E and 10 in attributing each staff plug to the last project plug on its own horizontal line or a previous horizontal line.

The enabling inputs on leads 334 for the project gates 330 come from a one-out-of-14 decoder circuit 340, which energizes one of the leads 334.1 through 334.14 at any given moment. The selection of a particular lead 334, by enabling a particular one of the project gates 330, determines when a given one of the project selector buttons 18.1 can be effective in transmitting a "selection" signal through the OR gate 320.

Before each calculation, the user manually depresses one or more of the buttons 18.1 to select the desired project or projects. Then as the calculation proceeds, the project gates 330.1 through 330.14 are enabled in that sequence by the decoder 340 so that each project gate 330 allows its associated project selector switch 18.1 to be operatively connected through to the OR gate 320 and "mode selection" output lead 166 only at an appropriate time. This must be the time when any of the particular horizontal lines 52 corresponding to the associated one of the fourteen projects is being scanned.

To achieve this timing, a Johnson counter circuit 342 is employed to generate a sequence of eight-bit binary-coded numbers from one to a maximum of 14, indicating which one of 14 projects is currently being scanned. The eight bits are generated by eight flip-flop stages 342.1 through 342.8 respectively, and communicated over respective "set" outputs leads 344.1 through 344.8 to the input of the decoder 340.

The counter 342 counts the fourteen possible projects which can be displayed on the board 12, distinguishing these from the 56 horizontal line positions over which these projects can be distributed. It accomplishes this by receiving its count pulses over a lead 346 from an amplifier 348 which is driven by the output of a coincidence gate 350 connected to receive an input from each one of the project plug diodes 32B (see FIGS. 4C and 8). Each "start horizontal scan" pulse on lead 131 is applied as an individual project signal "P1" through "P56" to the respective horizontal project conductors 200. But these signals are coupled only to their associated horizontal staff assignment conductors 52 of the time field matrix if a project plug 30B has been placed to connect them, resulting in a "P1 -P56" output on lead 167 when the gate 92 and the appropriate one of the vertical scan gates 56.3 is energized. This signal on lead 167 is then applied as an input to gate 350.

In order to make sure that this is truly a "P1" through "P56" input to gate 350 traceable to a "start horizontal scan" pulse via one of the diodes 32B, and not a "WS1 -WS56" staff assignment "start" or "stop" signal from one of the diodes 31C and one of the week signals "W1 -W48," each pulse on lead 167 is gated again with the "start horizontal scan" input on lead 131 coming into gate 350. The other logical conditions for enabling the gate 350 are a signal on lead 172 indicating that the counter 40 is not presently accumulating, and a synchronizing signal from clock "phase 3."

Thus, when the first project plug 30B is encountered during a scan of the display board 12, circuit 342 registers a count of one; when the next project plug is encountered, no matter how many horizontal scans later, it registers a count of two; and so on to a maximum of 14 project plugs; while the decoding of the project count quantity by circuit 340 selects the appropriate project gates 330.1 through 330.14 sequentially, in step with the project plug count. Thus, counter 342 keeps count of the project plugs no matter how they be spaced over the 56 horizontal lines 200, by retaining the last numerical setting to which it was driven by the last project plug 30B, when the next few horizontal lines are occupied by additional staff plugs 30A corresponding to the last project. The project count changes only when the scan reaches the next project plug 30B, which may be many lines and many staff plugs later. As a result, the section of a particular project for inclusion in the computation by means of the manual switches 18.1 continues to be effective during the scan of several consecutive horizontal lines, the staff plugs on which represent staff members all assigned to that same project. At the end each complete scan of the board, the general purpose "reset" signal on lead 98.2 drives an amplifier 345 which resets all flip-flop stages on the Johnson counter 342.

It is the capacity of counter 342 and its associated switches 18.1 and gates 330 which limit the device to a maximum of 14 projects "P1" to "P14." By increasing the capacity of these circuits, the calculator could be enabled to handle as many projects as there are horizontal lines; e.g. 56 in the example given.

The signal emerging from the amplifier 348 is also applied over lead 349 to provide the "load project factor register" signal which strobes the gates 208 in FIGS. 4E and 10. Thus, each time the project counter 342 is advanced, reflecting the completion of one project's calculation and the start of the next, the corresponding new project factor is loaded into the register 212 as a result of the signal on lead 349. Note that the "start horizontal scan" signal coming into gate 350 on lead 131 is synchronized with the "P1 -P56" signals entering that gate on lead 167 to satisfy the requirement that the "load project factor register" signal on lead 349 be traceable to the "P1 -P56" project plug signals rather than the "WS1 - WS56" week scan, staff assignment plug signals.

A "start horizontal scan" pulse on lead 131 transits the OR gate 320 and appears as an output on lead 166 to enable gate 92. But this event occurs before each horizontal scan; i.e. before any horizontal line 52 can receive a "WS1 - WS56" pulse from any diode 31C because the signals "W1 -W48" have not yet been applied to the week lines 50. Therefore at this time no "WS1 - WS56" pulse will arrive on lead 164 or be passed by gate 92. But the "start horizontal scan" input to gate 92 is synchronized with the "P1 -P56" pulses arriving on lead 164 (at different times from the "WS1 - WS56" pulses) because the "P1 -P56" pulses are derived from project plug diodes 32B, project lines 200, and the "start horizontal scan" pulse applied thereto by lead 131. Accordingly, the "start horizontal scan" signal on lead 166 enables gate 92 at the proper time to pass the "P1 -P56" pulses required by gate 350 of the project plug counting or tracking circuitry.

It will now be appreciated that this invention provides a combined displaying and computing device. It presents a visual display of a plurality of projects in progress at any given time, shows which staff members are assigned to those projects, and also shows the starting and stopping times of their individual project assignments over the course of a year. The computing circuitry obtains this information directly from the display board, without any operator effort, and calculates project costs, taking into account additional information as to project overhead factors and staff salary rates. Furthermore, it can perform such a cost calculation for one or more projects, or all projects, over the entire working year, or for all projects over a selected time frame of one or more consecutive months, or for selected projects over such a selected time frame.

The data needed for the cost calculation is inherently supplied to the computation circuitry by the mere placement of project plugs, staff plugs, and time field start-stop plugs for display purposes. In addition, the project and staff plugs provide all the necessary information, which need not be visible upon the display board, concerning the overhead factors applicable to the various projects and the salary rate classifications in which the various staff members fall. This information is changeable by simply relocating plug prongs. An additional refinement is the provision of manual switches which change the level of the salary rate classifications. Particularly fine resolution is provided by expressing the staff salary in terms of a daily rate to the nearest dime, a rate which is then converted into weekly terms for the purpose of a computation quantized on a weekly basis.

The results of the cost calculation are displayed upon a numerical read-out adjacent to the board, by a pulse counting system which does its work in an exceptionally short period of time through a method of progressively changing pulse weights. Pulses having a weight as small as ten cents are counted during the initial stages of computation, in order to provide high accuracy; but ultimately the same pulses are weighted for increasing orders of magnitude so as to shorten the duration of the count during its latter stages.

Since the foregoing description and drawings are merely illustrative, the scope of protection of the invention has been broadly stated in the following claims; and these should be liberally interpreted so as to obtain the benefit of all equivalents to which the invention is fairly entitled.