x'1D' (29): CHM's Timesharing/Professional Services Workshop: Session 1: Technology – The Early Years

posted Oct 19, 2014, 11:32 PM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Oct 20, 2014, 8:09 AM ]
On Oct 20, 2014, at 1:59 AM, Jeff Ogden wrote:

I was reading another transcript from the Computer History Museum. This one is from a 2009 "Timesharing/Professional Services Workshop: Session 1: Technology – The Early Years". The transcript includes a few comments about the IBM S/360 Models 66, 66-M, and 67 and mentions UMMPS, MTS, Bruce Arden, Bernie Galler, Robert Bartels, Mike Alexander, and Don Boettner.

The panel has talked a bit about CTSS and Dartmouth Timesharing and Rick Crandall, founder of Comshare, is getting ready to talk about Berkeley Timesharing and the SDS 930-940 (page 15):

Crandall: Tymshare and Comshare both derived from the effort at Berkeley. When I came out to join with Tymshare, we got computer time on a Berkeley computer from two to six in the morning. And they had a tape-based system, it wasn't disk yet. So our way of saving stuff was we had to punch it out on paper tape on a 35 teletype. And that was pretty grueling. And after a while, the programs got longer and longer and we were spending more time punching paper tape than we were actually programming. My first connection with that was in approximately May/June of 1965, when a Scientific Data Systems sales rep came in. And that's the computer, the SDS 930. I was working at the University of Michigan computing center, working on the [IBM 360] model 66-M, which was the Michigan conversion of a timesharing version of the IBM model 66.

Belvin: I never heard of a model 66.

Crandall: It became the 67.

Belvin: Ah, okay.

Crandall: And he [the SDS sales rep] told me about this effort at Berkeley. I had set up a demo for all the professors at the University of Michigan who were on the technical side. And the funny bit about that was that getting a phone line to actually work all the way from Ann Arbor to California was a major nightmare for the phone companies. They were so fascinated with the concept that they set up, they told me as I was sitting at the teletype, to do a least-squares application in CAL, the California Algebraic Language, which was created at Berkeley. They had a physical person every three or four hundred miles all the way from Ann Arbor to Berkeley to make sure that these circuits hung together. You know, it's sort of like a QOS thing today with the Internet. That was the first connection and contact, and then eventually Michigan actually gave me some credit towards a Ph.D. (that I never got) to go out to California, to work with Tymshare, Berkeley, and Scientific Data Systems to create [a timesharing system].

Grad: Ann, were you involved in that original work that was done by Tymshare on the [SDS] 930, 940 system.

A. Hardy: I was involved with it at Tymshare, not at Berkeley. Rick and I started with the same machine, where they were swapping the tape if you can imagine what this meant. And the system was at Berkeley; they [SDS] came over and sold it to us by telling us it was configured for 64 users. But of course, if you put more than one user on, swapping the tape, nothing happened at all.

Grad: What year was this Ann?

A. Hardy: 1966.

And later on page 19:

Grad: You've now mentioned ITS. Are there other names of timesharing systems of that period we should be putting down here during the 1950s to mid-1960s?

Crandall: Well, not quite that early, but there was a project at the University of Michigan, which felt very competitive with MIT and with Carnegie, all three of them on IBM equipment. And the Michigan project, where I was a student at the time, was in the computer center. The names that come to mind are Bruce Arden, Bernie Galler, and Bartels, who was head of the computer center. Those are the three key names associated with that project.

Grad: Did that go anywhere?

Crandall: They definitely had a system they considered their timesharing system, on what was called the Model 66. And IBM dubbed it the 66-M.

Belvin: Are you talking about UMMPS and MTS?

Crandall: Yes.

Belvin: UMMPS was the analog of CP in VM-370. And MTS was the analog of CMS. And UMMPS was developed by Mike Alexander and Don Boettner at Michigan. They were the software developers of that and they actually started with a little thing that Joel Winett and I had done at Lincoln Laboratory called LLMPS, a multiprogramming system, which we can talk about later on. But that saw use in many universities. It was a very popular system.

Workshop Participants:

Name                  Affiliation

Burt Grad                Moderator, SI SIG co-chair
Dick Bayles            National CSS
Frank Belvin           Interactive Data Corporation
Chris Brook            GE Information Services
Rick Crandall         Comshare
Ann Hardy             Tymshare
Norm Hardy           Tymshare
Mike Humphries    Tymshare
Paul McJones        Adobe, CHM volunteer
Gary Myers           Tymshare
Dick Orenstein      National CSS
Nick Rawlings       National CSS
Ken Ross              Ross Systems
Dave Schmidt       Tymshare
Jeffery Stein          Online Business Systems
Mike Wyman         Interactive Data Corporation
Thomas Haigh      Historian, Univ. of Wisconsin
Chris McDonald    Historian, Princeton University
Doug Jerger          SI SIG member
Luanne Johnson   SI SIG co-chair
Ed LaHay              SI SIG member

And a comment or two from me:

Crandall's remarks are interesting to me because he mentions the Model 66-M. He couldn't really have been working on a 66 or 66-M at Michigan, however, because the machine was known as the Model 67 by the time it was delivered in November 1966 and installed over the holidays at the end of 1966 and the start of 1967. So the dates don't quite match up.

   -Jeff Ogden

On Oct 20, 2014, at 9:09 AM, Donald Boettner wrote:

Slight correction to Jeff’s comment:  The model 67 was scheduled to arrive in January 1967.  It actually arrived in the week between Christmas and New Years 1966 (in crates addressed to “Ann Harbor, Michigan”!) because IBM wanted to get it out of New York State before the end of the year for tax purposes (so we were told).  It didn’t get put together and installed until January, however.