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Project MAC: Excerpts from "Introduction and Overview of the Multics System"4 Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129720D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 3 page(s) / 19K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Fernando Corbato: AUTHOR [+3]


Fernando Corbato

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 36% 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 "Introduction and Overview of the Multics System"4

Fernando Corbato

V. A. Vyssotsky

The service operations of the project from 1963 to 1965 were being paralleled by the design of a much larger, more comprehensive system which would not only replace the CTSS implementation but also provide the basis for a commercial product which would be widely available. This was the time when IBM, the current supplier of the major portion of the Project MAC system hardware, had announced System/360 (April 14,1964), which also introduced a new architecture and the concept of a much broader family of compatible computing systems than had been evident either within IBM or any other company.25 From the point of view of developing a computer utility, this announcement should have provided the impetus for IBM to move strongly into the field of computing utilities, and the major opportunity, one would believe, would have been the forthcoming request for proposal for the implementation of the Multics system. Contemporaneously with Robert Fano's progress report, Fernando Corbato and V.A. Vyssotsky presented the plans for the 'next system " (ID 1965 AFIPS).

Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) is a comprehensive, general-purpose programming system which is being developed as a research project. The initial Multics system will be implemented on the GE 645 computer. One of the overall design goals is to create a computing system which is capable of meeting almost all of the present and near-future requirements of a large computer utility. Such systems must run continuously and reliably 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, in a way similar to telephone or power systems, and must be capable of meeting wide service demands: from multiple man-machine interaction to the sequential processing of absentee-user jobs; from the use of the system with dedicated languages and subsystems to the programming of the system itself; and from centralized bulk card, tape, and printer facilities to remotely located terminals. Such information processing and communication systems are believed to be essential for the future growth of computer use in business, in industry, in government and in scientific laboratories as well as stimulating applications which would be otherwise undone.

It is now abundantly clear that it is possible to create a general- purpose time-shared multi- access system on many contemporary computers (especially after minor but basic modifications are made). Already two major and extensive systems have been created, one on the IBM 7094 and one on the [AN/FS] Q-32 computer. In addition, there have been numerous smaller scale systems, the most notable being on the DEC PDP- 1, the IBM 7094, the GE 235, the DEC PDP- 6, and the SDS 930, as well as somewha...