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MGDPS and DSDPS -- Two Stages of an Early Operating System

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129592D
Original Publication Date: 1988-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 12 page(s) / 47K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

WILLIAM J. JONES: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

The purpose of these recollections is to describe an operating system that made possible the efficient and timely processing of missile test data by the General Electric Company for the At/as Missile program in the late 1950s. In 30-year retrospect, it seems reasonable to make the claim that this system, called MGDPS and later DSDPS, was one of the first of its genre and that it incorporated features, particularly in the input/output control system, that were innovative. What was most important at the time, and what makes these recollections particularly pleasant, is that the operating system was so effective in handling the missile test data processing requirements for GE at that fume.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1989 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

MGDPS and DSDPS -- Two Stages of an Early Operating System

WILLIAM J. JONES

(Image Omitted: Author's Address: Associate Professor. Computer and Information Science, 313 Link Hall, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY 13244)

.

The purpose of these recollections is to describe an operating system that made possible the efficient and timely processing of missile test data by the General Electric Company for the At/as Missile program in the late 1950s. In 30-year retrospect, it seems reasonable to make the claim that this system, called MGDPS and later DSDPS, was one of the first of its genre and that it incorporated features, particularly in the input/output control system, that were innovative. What was most important at the time, and what makes these recollections particularly pleasant, is that the operating system was so effective in handling the missile test data processing requirements for GE at that fume.

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.2 [Computing Milieux]: History of Computing --people, software, systems. D.4.7 [Software]: Operating Systems -- organization, design. General terms. Design, Management, Performance. Additional Terms: MGDPS, DSDPS, General Electric, Atlas missile.

Introduction

These recollections describe an early software system created in 1957- 1959 purely in response to a need, without full appreciation at the time that it was one of the first operating systems -- one of those terms in the computer field that has only been defined through the totality of things that, after their creation, are seen as belonging to the class.

In the two stages of this operating system known by the acronyms MGDPS and DSDPS, several innovations appeared: logical tape addresses, buffering and blocking, distinction between logical and physical records, upward compatibility, transfer vector, least-recently-used algorithm, command line scanner, automatic program sequencing, standardization, ease in the use of parameters, processing plan self- documentation, override, modularity, and structured programming.

Background

In June 1956, I joined a group in the Heavy Military Equipment Department (HMED) of the General Electric Company in Syracuse, New York which was processing time series data from equipment being developed for tracking Atlas missiles. HMED had just acquired an IBM 650 computer with 2000 10-digit decimal words of magnetic drum memory and punched card input/ output. In 1957, the 650 was replaced by an IBM 704 with 8192 36-bit words of memory and magnetic tapes. A rapidly growing unit of programmer wrote programs in 704 assembler language to make calculations on the tracking data: refraction correction, smoothing, and so on.

IEEE Computer Society, Mar 31, 1988 Page 1 IEEE Annals of the History of Computing Volume 11 Number 2, Pages 99-108

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