Re: Only $500M?
When at University, an assembly language course was required. The standard option was PDP-11, but we EEs were second to the CS students, whose department owned the PDP-11s. In practical terms, this meant third shift (12M - 8A) time slots...not an appealing option. However, due to the fact that the U had just purchased a CDC Cyber-74, which came with a 1 year deployment of an Applications Engineer, there was a second option: two sections of CDC Cyber assembly language, and I jumped at the chance.
Nominally, input/output was via punched cards. I did this once to say I'd done it, then used my personal Teletype for the rest of the assignments. Hardware floating point, 60 bit words, and someone who knew all the tricks to guide us. It was a wonderful experience.
// no blinkenlights icon?