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Published information

Use this page to capture references to published information about the Michigan Terminal System and related materials.

Additional articles that mention MTS may be found elsewhere in the "Discussion" section of the Michigan Terminal System Archive (this site) and the "MTS Bibliography" contains a list of published articles about MTS.


x'2E' (46): "Ethnic Jokes in Campus Computer Prompt Debate" (April 1987)

posted Jul 21, 2019, 7:33 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Jul 21, 2019, 7:38 PM ]

"Ethnic Jokes in Campus Computer Prompt Debate"

By Isabel Wilkerson and Special to The New York Times, April 18, 1987

A collection of ethnic, racial and other jokes offensive to specific groups, all put into a computer by students at the University of Michigan in recent months, has provoked feverish debate over freedom of speech and computer propriety.


x'2D' (45): MTS Abuse Haunts U-M (April 1992)

posted Jul 21, 2019, 7:03 PM by Jeff Ogden

by Chetly Zarko, published in The Michigan Review, Vol. 10, No. 14, pages 1, 21-22, April 15, 1992.
The Michigan Review is the Campus Affairs Journal of the University of Michigan,
an independent, non-profit, student-run journal at the University of Michigan.

x'2C' (44): Exhibition bytes into the history of computers (Newcastle Helix)

posted Apr 3, 2019, 1:13 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Apr 3, 2019, 2:17 AM ]

Newcastle Helix Logo black

Exhibition bytes into the history of computers

Photograph of Professor Brian Randell and Jon Dowland
Professor Brian Randell and Jon Dowland

Sixty years on from the creation of the first computing lab at Newcastle University, a special exhibition will highlight some of the ground-breaking IT developments that have since taken place.

The exhibition explores the evolution of computing – from the days when computers were so large that they would fill a room, to the personal desktop computers of the 1980s and 90s, and the earliest handheld devices.

Exhibits on display include early examples of home computers such as the iconic BBC Micro and Sinclair ZX81, as well as some of the first portable personal computers that paved the way for today’s tablets and laptops.

The exhibition has been put together by a group of volunteers from current and retired staff and students, led by researcher Jonathan Dowland and Professor Brian Randell, who joined the computing department at Newcastle in the late 1960s from IBM's T J Watson Research Center in New York.

Professor Randell said: “For this exhibition, we’ve brought together some fascinating examples that show how far computing technology has come - from the very early ‘mainframe’ computers via the first PC and the venerable Apple Mac Plus, to more recent handheld devices and tablets. The models on display were all revolutionary at the time and each has an important role in the story of how integral computers have become to modern life.”

Among the veteran models on display is the vacuum-tube technology of the type used in Ferdinand, the Ferranti Pegasus computer which was the very first computer at the University.

Installed in November 1957, Ferdinand - FERranti DIgital and Numerical Analyser Newcastle and Durham – is thought to have been the first computer in the whole of the North East.

As there were so few computers at this time, access was also made available to local industry, and major local companies such as C.A. Parsons, Reyrolles and Thomas Hedley were among those interested in Ferdinand’s capabilities.

To use Ferdinand, programs were prepared on paper tape which was then loaded into the computer by Elizabeth Barraclough, the University’s first Ferranti Pegasus computer operator, whose long career at Newcastle culminated in the role of Director of the University Computing Service.

In 1967, 10 years after its launch, the computing department had grown substantially, and the University – by then separate from Durham – obtained the IBM System 360/67. At the time, this was the largest IBM computer in any British university, and components from this will be on display during the exhibition. It was also Europe's first time-sharing computer - a computer that could be used simultaneously by a number of different users, dramatically lowering the cost and speed of developing and running computer programs.

The original purpose of the computing lab at Newcastle University was to provide computing support to researchers. It quickly became clear that education for users was essential, and in 1958 Newcastle became the first British University to teach a course in computer programming to undergraduates.

Today Newcastle is ranked one of the top universities in the world for computing science. This status as a world-leading centre in data science led to Newcastle leading the UK’s £30m National Innovation Centre for Data. It also has been named as the Governmental Academic Centre of Excellence for Cyber Security Research, as well as being invited to join the prestigious Alan Turing Institute, the flagship national institute for data science.

Professor John Fitzgerald, Head of the School of Computing, Newcastle University, added: “Sixty years on, computing science teaching and research at Newcastle continues to be ground-breaking, allowing us to be at the forefront of critical disciplines such as big data, artificial intelligence, cyber-security and cyber-physical systems.

“Just as the very first computer at Newcastle was also used by business, today we work with our industrial partners to connect research, accelerate innovation and boost skills to meet the needs of an increasingly-digitalised society.”

The History of Computing exhibition has been designed as part of Newcastle University’s ‘Inspired by’ Great Exhibition of the North programme. It is taking place in the entrance to the Urban Sciences Building, Newcastle Helix, weekdays 9.00am – 5.00pm and runs until 9th September.

For more information on a range of options for studying computing science that is based on world-leading research visit www.ncl.ac.uk/computing/

x'2B' (43): How computers have changed since 1968 [at Durham University]

posted Apr 2, 2019, 8:22 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Apr 3, 2019, 1:16 AM ]

The following article appeared in the January 2005 issue of ITS News from Durham University.

See: https://www.dur.ac.uk/cis/news/archive/issues/january2005/complete/

How computers have changed since 1968

Picture of computer at Durham in 1968

We recently unearthed a short publication from 1968, which described the inauguration of N.U.M.A.C. The Northumbrian Universities Multiple Access Computer (N.U.M.A.C.) was the name given to a system installed to serve computing needs of the Universities of Durham and Newcastle upon Tyne.
N.U.M.A.C. was hailed as the first computing system in the UK to be jointly owned and operated by two universities. Such co-operation enabled a much more powerful system to be made available than could have been purchased by either University acting alone.

"The computer chosen was the IBM system 360, Model 67. Situated in the University of Newcastle upon Tyne Computing Laboratory are the central processor unit, the core store of 512 K bytes, a drum of 4 million bytes, a multiple disc unit capable of holding 233 million bytes available for access on eight replaceable discs, magnetic tape drives, appropriate selector and multiplexor channels controlling the flow of information and peripheral devices including printing, card and paper tape equipment and graph plotters.

A small on-line satellite computer, the IBM 1130, also with printer, plotter, card and paper equipment, has been placed in Durham. Typewriter terminals have been installed in both Durham and Newcastle. A wide range of data preparation equipment for both cards and tape is available in both Universities.

When the Model 67 is operated in time-sharing mode, several users in Newcastle and Durham will be working simultaneously at typewriter terminals under the experimental time-sharing system TSS/360. The users will be able to employ a conversational approach, entering modifications to programs or data through the keyboard and receiving information from the typed output. Initially six terminals in the Newcastle laboratory and two in Durham will be connected, followed shortly by five more at different places in Newcastle and Durham......

The majority of the demand on the computing system will arise from research workers in science, engineering and medicine, although workers, especially in the bibliographic and social science fields, will make substantial demands. Although the needs for computer time for each student example are slight, the numbers involved produce an apppreciable demand from this source also.'

(29 Jan 2005)

x'2A' (42): Research At 'U' May Revise Space Theories, Ann Arbor News, August 31, 1960

posted Jul 6, 2017, 10:47 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Apr 3, 2019, 1:18 AM ]

This article appeared in August 31, 1960 edition of the Ann Arbor News. It talks about:

Data from the experiments is now being processed on an electronic computer at the U-M Computing Center. ... the group arranged the experiments so data could easily be processed on the big computer, thus saving many months in evaluating the data.  

x'28' (40): Campus Networking Strategies

posted Jun 9, 2016, 11:00 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Jun 9, 2016, 11:30 AM ]

Campus Networking Strategies (EDUCOM strategies series on information technology) Hardcover – August 10, 1988

by Caroline Arms (Editor)

In-depth case studies of ten higher education institutions, along with background chapters on protocols and standards, wiring, and national networks.

Ten institutions that are considered to be leaders in the implementation of computing technology are reviewed, each in an individual chapter, to assess their current status and future plans for computer networking. The universities included are Wesleyan University, Dartmouth College, Carnegie Mellon University, Rensselaer Polytechnic University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, Cornell University, The University of Michigan, The University of Minnesota, and The Pennsylvania State University.
  • Series: EDUCOM strategies series on information technology
  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Butterworth-Heinemann Ltd (August 10, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555580092
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555580094
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds

Posted on Facebook 9 June 2016:

1 hr ·[<<-- click here to see the original post]
Greg, I was happy to find a copy of this 1988 classic on a colleague's shelf and to read your chapter about the earliest days of networking at U-M. Things have come a fair distance, to say the least. Susan Harris also gets a thanks in the chapter for her editing.

x'27' (39): ARCH:MODEL: CADIA at Michigan

posted May 26, 2016, 12:18 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated May 26, 2016, 12:24 PM ]

"CADIA at Michigan", by Theodore Hall, University of Michigan, from ACADIA, the newsletter of the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture, December 1983, Vol. III, No. 2

Describes the CAEADS project at the Architecture and Planning Research Laboratory (APRL) of the University of Michigan. ARCH:MODEL is a modeling program to assist in computer aided building design that ran on MTS.

x'26' (38): FOIL— a file-oriented interpretive language

posted May 24, 2015, 8:48 AM by Jeff Ogden

FOIL— a file-oriented interpretive language
John C. Hesselbart, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan
in Proceedings—1968 ACM National Conference, pages 93-98.

In the summer of 1967 a project was begun at The
University of Michigan to provide users of a generalpurpose,
time-sharing system with the capability for
exploring conversational uses of computers for instruction.
The idea for the project developed from the
interest of faculty members in a number of subject
areas who wished to develop conversational programs
and investigate the benefits of computer-assisted instruction
in the classroom and laboratory using existing
time-sharing facilities. Support was provided by UNIVAC
Division of Sperry Rand Corporation.

 . . .

FOIL (File-Oriented Interpretive Language) was devel-
oped to provide conversational lesson-writing capability
for potential instructional programmers who have access
to a general-purpose, time-sharing system. Programs
written in FOIL reside on direct-access files and are
processed by an interpreter written in FORTRAN.
The interpretive mode places few constraints on the
syntax of the language and a number of beneficial
features are achieved.

 . . .

The source code for the processor is relatively machine
independent and therefore easily adapted to other
time-sharing systems. FOIL was originally implemented
on an IBM 360/67 computer operating under the
Michigan Terminal System. James Ruddell at the University
of Maryland readily adapted the processor for
the UNIVAC 1108 system and added capability for
lesson building and editing.

 . . .

x'25' (37): In the beginning: how MTS came to UBC

posted Dec 25, 2014, 9:19 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Dec 26, 2014, 8:11 AM ]

"In the beginning: how MTS came to UBC"
Ron McQuiggan
ComputerData, March 1979, page 12

x'24' (36): Did you know?

posted Dec 15, 2014, 3:22 PM by Jeff Ogden

The following note appeared in a sidebar in the 3 February 2011 issue of the University of Michigan Record Update:


The Michigan Terminal System was developed in 1967 as a time-sharing system that allowed for efficient multi-user access to the university's IBM 360/67.

Learn more

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