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Project MAC: Excerpts from "The MAC System: A Progress Report"9 Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129718D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 2 page(s) / 18K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Robert Fano: AUTHOR [+2]


A 1965 paper by Robert Fano describes the status of the project prior to the initiation of the Multics project (©; 1965 AFIPS).

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 48% of the total text.

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Copyright ©; 1992 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Project MAC: Excerpts from "The MAC System: A Progress Report"9

Robert Fano

A 1965 paper by Robert Fano describes the status of the project prior to the initiation of the Multics project (© 1965 AFIPS).

The primary terminals of the MAC System are, at present, 52 Model 35 Teletypes and 56 IBM 1050 Selectric teletypewriters (adaptations of the "golfball" office typewriter), located mostly, but not exclusively, within the MIT campus. Each of these terminals can dial, through the MIT private branch exchange, either the IBM 7094 installation of Project MAC, or the similar installation of the MIT Computation Center. The supervisory programs of the two computer installations may, independently, accept or reject a call, depending on the identity of the caller. Access to the MAC System can also be gained from any station of the Telex or TWX telegraph networks. Some tests and demonstrations have been conducted from European locations, and experiments are being planned in collaboration with a number of universities to provide further experience with long-distance operation of the system.

While Teletypes and other typewriter-like terminals are adequate for many purposes, some applications demand a much more flexible form of graphical communication. The MAC System includes for this purpose the initial model of a multiple-display system developed by the MIT Electronic Systems Laboratory for computer-aided design. The system includes two oscilloscope displays with character generator and light pen, and some special-purpose digital equipment that performs the light-pen tracking, and simplifies the task of the computer in maintaining the display and in performing common operations such as translating and rotating the display.

A separate, very flexible display terminal is provided by a DEC PDP-1 computer which can communicate from a remote location with the MAC computer installation through a 1200-bit-per- second telephone connection. The PDP-1 can also be used as a buffer between the MAC computer and the display system described above, thereby permitting simulation and study of remote operation of the latter.

The MAC System has been operating in roughly its present form since the middle of November, 1963. It is now in operation 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Maintenance, disk dumping and loading, and occasional non-timesharing operation use approximately 4 hours per day. The on-line use of the system has steadily increased since November to April; the total number of computer hours charged to on- line users (the sum of the numbers printed out by the system on completion of each command) was 311 in April and 297 in May. In other words, the computer time devoted to serving on-line users amounted to approximately 42 per cent of total clock hours. The background use is not incl...