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The Social Impact: Project MAC14

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129740D
Original Publication Date: 1992-Jun-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-07
Document File: 3 page(s) / 19K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Robert Fano: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Looking back at Project MAC in 1979, Robert Fano summarized the 16 years of continued (and continuing) activities, a major but not unique portion of which was the commercialization of interactive computing and time-sharing. (Reprinted with permission from Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology O 1979 Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York.) Project MAC, renamed in 1975 the Laboratory for Computer Science, is an interdepartmental research laboratory in the computer sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was organized in the spring of 1963 with the support of the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense under a research contract with the Office of Naval Research. Its founding director was Professor Robert M. Fano, who served in that position until September 1968. He was followed as director by Professor J.C.R. Licklider from 1968 to 1971, Professor Edward Fredkin from 1971 to 1974, and Professor Michael L. Dertouzos, who has been serving since l974. The goal of developing an on-line research community was achieved within the first 6 months of operation of the MAC computer system, as evidenced by the table of contents of the July 1964 progress report.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

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

The Social Impact: Project MAC14

Robert Fano

Looking back at Project MAC in 1979, Robert Fano summarized the 16 years of continued (and continuing) activities, a major but not unique portion of which was the commercialization of interactive computing and time-sharing. (Reprinted with permission from Encyclopedia of Computer Science and Technology O 1979 Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York.)

Project MAC, renamed in 1975 the Laboratory for Computer Science, is an interdepartmental research laboratory in the computer sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was organized in the spring of 1963 with the support of the Advanced Research Projects Agency of the Department of Defense under a research contract with the Office of Naval Research. Its founding director was Professor Robert M. Fano, who served in that position until September 1968. He was followed as director by Professor J.C.R. Licklider from 1968 to 1971, Professor Edward Fredkin from 1971 to 1974, and Professor Michael L. Dertouzos, who has been serving since l974.

The goal of developing an on-line research community was achieved within the first 6 months of operation of the MAC computer system, as evidenced by the table of contents of the July 1964 progress report.

Planning on the follow-up MAC system began in earnest in the spring of 1964 with conferences with many computer manufacturers. It eventually led to the development of the Multics System in collaboration with the Bell Telephone Laboratories and the Computer Department of the General Electric Company, which later became part of Honeywell Information Systems, Inc.

The first version of the Multics System became operational for general use at MIT 4 years later in October 1969. The Multics System eventually became a commercial product of Honeywell Information Systems, Inc.

The first MAC computer system and the Multics development project were the most visible parts of Project MAC throughout the 1960s. However, Project MAC included from the very beginning a broad spectrum of research activities.

The time-sharing software of the MAC System was restructured and extended in a major way during the first 2 years of operation. A new file-management system was implemented, amounting to approximately 15,000 words of new code. It provided means for sharing private programs and data files among users without duplication and without danger of their being damaged. Permission by file owner could be selectively granted to (and withdrawn from) specific individuals, all members of a research group, or all users of the MAC system.

The original Project MAC research proposal stressed the inadequacy of the IBM 7094 computer installation as a basis for serious time-sharing system research. The machine, the last model of a venerable...