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Listing all known ITS machines #181

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larsbrinkhoff opened this Issue Dec 8, 2016 · 86 comments

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 8, 2016

This is what I know so far:

Model Serial number Name Comment Owners
PDP-6 2 AI Lab MIT (1964-1982)
PDP-6 Dynamic Modeling MIT (1969-)
KA10 AI MIT (1968-1983), Concourse (1983-)
KA10 144 DM Dynamic Modeling MIT (1970-1983)
KA10 198 ML Mathlab MIT (1971-1984)
KA10 Stacken
KL10 1038 MC/MX Macsyma Consortium MIT (1975-1988), Peter Löthberg
KS10 4627 AI MIT (1985-1990), Christoper Zach, LCM
KS10 4648 MD Mostly Development MIT (1986-)
KS10 4649 MX/MC Mail Computer MIT (1986-1990), Christoper Zach
KS10 4653 ML MIT (1986-1990), Christoper Zach, Doug Humphrey, Dave McGuire
KS10 4428 Peter Löthberg
KS10 4469 Gordon Greene, Daniel Seagraves
KS10 4655 LI eLinor LIU, Lysator, Ludd, Anders Magnusson
KS10 4664 PM Marc Crispin, LCM
KS10 4142 John Wilson
KS10 SI Stacken
KS10 FU Australia Flinders University
KS10 DX Doug Humphrey (1989-)
PDP-10/X TX Dave Conroy
KLH10 SV Paul Svensson (2001-)
KLH10 UP Update Björn Victor (2004-)
KLH10 ES Eric Swenson's ITS (2015-)
KLH10 NO nocrew Lars Brinkhoff (2017-)
KLH10 SJ San Jose @b4 (2017-)
KLH10 XM @mattwyrm

TOPS-20 machines at MIT:

Model Serial number Name Comment
KL10 OZ 1982-
KL10 XX DM users moved here
KL10 2460 EECS
KS10 4380 BLT, LSD Brave Little Toaster
MIT-SPEECH

WAITS at Stanford:

Model Serial number Name Owner
PDP-6 16 SAIL Stanford 1966-1980
KA10 32 SAIL Stanford 1968-
KL10 1075 SAIL Stanford -1991
F2/F4 CCRMA Stanford -1990
F2 S1-A
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Sources:
SYSTEM; CONFIG >
SYSTEM; SALV >
https://sites.google.com/site/mthompsonorg/Home/pdp-10/pdp-10-serial-numbers by @mgthompson
http://www.ultimate.com/phil/pdp10/pdp6-serials.html by @Budd
ftp://ftp.ultimate.com/pdp10/bucs20-anon/decapr/decapr.cpu.txt
Project MAC Progress Reports from dtic.mil
Messages to KS-ITS
Messages to ITS-BUGS
Messages to ITS-LOVERS
http://infolab.stanford.edu/pub/voy/museum/pictures/AIlab/SailFarewell.html

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 8, 2016

Sources:
SYSTEM; CONFIG >
SYSTEM; SALV >
https://sites.google.com/site/mthompsonorg/Home/pdp-10/pdp-10-serial-numbers by @mgthompson
http://www.ultimate.com/phil/pdp10/pdp6-serials.html by @Budd
ftp://ftp.ultimate.com/pdp10/bucs20-anon/decapr/decapr.cpu.txt
Project MAC Progress Reports from dtic.mil
Messages to KS-ITS
Messages to ITS-BUGS
Messages to ITS-LOVERS
http://infolab.stanford.edu/pub/voy/museum/pictures/AIlab/SailFarewell.html

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Questions:

  • Did the KS10 ML become DX?
  • Did SI come from a previous MIT machine?
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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 8, 2016

Questions:

  • Did the KS10 ML become DX?
  • Did SI come from a previous MIT machine?
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Stacken apparently tried to get ITS running on KATIA in 1985. But the SI machine known to CONFIG is a KS10.

Per Lindberg was at Stacken at the time; I've asked him for details.

MRC wrote in 2001:

I also salvaged the [SAIL] BBN pager; the last I heard, Peter Lothberg & co. had it on a working KA10 in Sweden running Tenex.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 8, 2016

Stacken apparently tried to get ITS running on KATIA in 1985. But the SI machine known to CONFIG is a KS10.

Per Lindberg was at Stacken at the time; I've asked him for details.

MRC wrote in 2001:

I also salvaged the [SAIL] BBN pager; the last I heard, Peter Lothberg & co. had it on a working KA10 in Sweden running Tenex.

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@eswenson1 Did you edit the table? I didn't notice, so your changes are not present in #259.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 13, 2016

@eswenson1 Did you edit the table? I didn't notice, so your changes are not present in #259.

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I had thought I'd added my machine to the list. But noticed it wasn't there when you committed -- but also noticed your comment about emulated systems and figured you didn't want them there. (Even though I've had ES-ITS up for over a year! :-)). No matter.

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eswenson1 commented Dec 13, 2016

I had thought I'd added my machine to the list. But noticed it wasn't there when you committed -- but also noticed your comment about emulated systems and figured you didn't want them there. (Even though I've had ES-ITS up for over a year! :-)). No matter.

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Fixed by #259.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 13, 2016

Fixed by #259.

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There's a rumor there was a DynaMod PDP-6. (And I have some documents to back it up.) @eswenson1 or anyone else, have you heard of such a thing?

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 13, 2016

There's a rumor there was a DynaMod PDP-6. (And I have some documents to back it up.) @eswenson1 or anyone else, have you heard of such a thing?

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Well, I don't have any idea. But DynaMod sounds like "Dynamic Modeling", which is what DM stood for. So given that we had all sorts of PDP-this-and-thats attached to various of the MIT ITS machines, I wouldn't be surprised, if there was a PDP-6 attached to DM....

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eswenson1 commented Dec 13, 2016

Well, I don't have any idea. But DynaMod sounds like "Dynamic Modeling", which is what DM stood for. So given that we had all sorts of PDP-this-and-thats attached to various of the MIT ITS machines, I wouldn't be surprised, if there was a PDP-6 attached to DM....

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Ok, thanks.

Right, DM = DynaMod = Dynamic Modeling. The PDP-6 was the predecessor to the PDP-10. The AI Lab got started with ITS on a PDP-6 in the late 60s, but replaced it with a PDP-10 which was a much more reliable machine.

PDP-this-and-thats would have been PDP-8 and PDP-11 minis. The 6 was a mainframe-class machine, so it wouldn't have been attached as a mere peripheral device. Maybe as a secondary CPU running alongside a 10.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 13, 2016

Ok, thanks.

Right, DM = DynaMod = Dynamic Modeling. The PDP-6 was the predecessor to the PDP-10. The AI Lab got started with ITS on a PDP-6 in the late 60s, but replaced it with a PDP-10 which was a much more reliable machine.

PDP-this-and-thats would have been PDP-8 and PDP-11 minis. The 6 was a mainframe-class machine, so it wouldn't have been attached as a mere peripheral device. Maybe as a secondary CPU running alongside a 10.

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Ah, right. Was confusing PDP-8s with PDP-6s. I never actually (knowingly) used the 6s when I was at LCS.

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eswenson1 commented Dec 13, 2016

Ah, right. Was confusing PDP-8s with PDP-6s. I never actually (knowingly) used the 6s when I was at LCS.

@larsbrinkhoff larsbrinkhoff added the note label Dec 14, 2016

@larsbrinkhoff larsbrinkhoff reopened this Dec 14, 2016

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I'm reopening this, to add more research notes.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 14, 2016

I'm reopening this, to add more research notes.

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I found some references to another PDP-6 machine used by the Dynamic Modeling group. It's unclear whether it ran ITS.

  • Marc Crispin posted to alt.sys.pdp10:

    I did meet the MIT AI and DM PDP-6s

  • Project MAC Progress Report VII, page 59:

    at Project MAC, both the Multics GE 645 system and the Dynamic Modeling and Computer Graphics Groups' PDP-6/10 system are network hosts.

  • Project MAC Progress Report IX, page 60:

    Work on the Dynamic Modeling System began, effectively, in October, 1969, when a used PDP-6 computer with 32K words of memory was delivered to Project MAC.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 14, 2016

I found some references to another PDP-6 machine used by the Dynamic Modeling group. It's unclear whether it ran ITS.

  • Marc Crispin posted to alt.sys.pdp10:

    I did meet the MIT AI and DM PDP-6s

  • Project MAC Progress Report VII, page 59:

    at Project MAC, both the Multics GE 645 system and the Dynamic Modeling and Computer Graphics Groups' PDP-6/10 system are network hosts.

  • Project MAC Progress Report IX, page 60:

    Work on the Dynamic Modeling System began, effectively, in October, 1969, when a used PDP-6 computer with 32K words of memory was delivered to Project MAC.

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@mgthompson Your list has both this

?? ITS MIT-AI Cambridge, MA KA10
?? ITS MIT-DMS Cambridge, MA KA10
?? ITS MIT-ML Cambridge, MA KA10

and this

144 TOPS-10 MIT-DMS, MA KA10
198 TOPS-10 MIT-ML, MA KA10 (Probably the right S/N)
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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 15, 2016

@mgthompson Your list has both this

?? ITS MIT-AI Cambridge, MA KA10
?? ITS MIT-DMS Cambridge, MA KA10
?? ITS MIT-ML Cambridge, MA KA10

and this

144 TOPS-10 MIT-DMS, MA KA10
198 TOPS-10 MIT-ML, MA KA10 (Probably the right S/N)
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ftp://ftp.ultimate.com/pdp10/bucs20-anon/decapr/decapr.cpu.txt lists Peter Löthberg's KS 4428 running ITS.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 15, 2016

ftp://ftp.ultimate.com/pdp10/bucs20-anon/decapr/decapr.cpu.txt lists Peter Löthberg's KS 4428 running ITS.

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DM PDP-6 confirmed by Noel Chiappa:

I don't know about the software run on the two PDP-6's - by the time I arrived at MIT, they were both powered off and never, as far as I know, ever ran again. I would assume that it ran ITS.

I don't recall if the physical remains stayed until the KA's were de-commissioned, or of they were removed prior to that - I suspect they stayed, since they were mixed in with the KA's - in the case of AI at least, wired in together - but don't remember exactly. I don't recall if the I/O bus was shared between the two CPUs on the DM machines, the way it was on the AI KA and PDP-6.

The DM PDP-6 was part of the DM KA 'assembly' - DM was in two rows (front and back) to the right of the right-hand door from the lobby into the machine room. IIRC, the PDP-6 was in the front row, to the right? of the KA CPU. (The back row contained memory boxes - a mix of different DEC memories. I don't recall where the tape and disk controllers were - or the disk drives. I seem to vaguely recall a few boxes to the left of the KA CPU? Maybe there are some pictures of the MAC machine room that will show it.)

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 15, 2016

DM PDP-6 confirmed by Noel Chiappa:

I don't know about the software run on the two PDP-6's - by the time I arrived at MIT, they were both powered off and never, as far as I know, ever ran again. I would assume that it ran ITS.

I don't recall if the physical remains stayed until the KA's were de-commissioned, or of they were removed prior to that - I suspect they stayed, since they were mixed in with the KA's - in the case of AI at least, wired in together - but don't remember exactly. I don't recall if the I/O bus was shared between the two CPUs on the DM machines, the way it was on the AI KA and PDP-6.

The DM PDP-6 was part of the DM KA 'assembly' - DM was in two rows (front and back) to the right of the right-hand door from the lobby into the machine room. IIRC, the PDP-6 was in the front row, to the right? of the KA CPU. (The back row contained memory boxes - a mix of different DEC memories. I don't recall where the tape and disk controllers were - or the disk drives. I seem to vaguely recall a few boxes to the left of the KA CPU? Maybe there are some pictures of the MAC machine room that will show it.)

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ML KA10

Project MAC Progress Report IX, page 86:

The "Mathlab" PDP-10 arrived during the year and became operational in February 1972.

The basic PDP-10 processor and one half its memory (i.e. 128K) arrived in October 1971. Richard Greenblatt and Thomas Knight made an heroic effort to bring up an ITS time-sharing system compatible with that on the Artificial Intelligence Group's machine. The new file system they created was given to the Dynamic Modeling group and tripled their effective disk utilization.

The remainder of the memory arrived in December. In January Systems Concepts installed a pager compatible with the one on the Artificial Intelligence machine. As a result, the Mathlab machine is able to use the latest versions of the Artificial Intelligence time-sharing systems.

AI memo 238, April 1972:

The ITS system is to be used by the Project MAC Mathlab group on their own PDP-10 Computer. This should increase the incentive for real modularity which has been lacking with a one installation system (Actually the Project MAC Dynamic Modelling Group uses a non-paged early offshoot of ITS on their PDP-10.)

Much of the work in setting up the initial Mathlab system is being done by Richard L. Greenblatt.

RFC 366 from 28 June 1972 says "During this period the MIT Math Lab PDP-10 (Network address 198) became a server."

Email from GSB, March 9th 1984:

Date: 8 Mar 1984 20:45 PST (Thu)
From: Ian Macky

. . .
The "internal error" was apparently due to cca's being down.
And ML has officially gone west.

But it hasn't reached the horizon yet, so don't dyke it out of the host tables. Its disk has been fixed, and its processor/pager problem is going to be worked on this weekend. While i don't expect it to accept incoming net connections ever, it will certainly need to reach out and write some files.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 16, 2016

ML KA10

Project MAC Progress Report IX, page 86:

The "Mathlab" PDP-10 arrived during the year and became operational in February 1972.

The basic PDP-10 processor and one half its memory (i.e. 128K) arrived in October 1971. Richard Greenblatt and Thomas Knight made an heroic effort to bring up an ITS time-sharing system compatible with that on the Artificial Intelligence Group's machine. The new file system they created was given to the Dynamic Modeling group and tripled their effective disk utilization.

The remainder of the memory arrived in December. In January Systems Concepts installed a pager compatible with the one on the Artificial Intelligence machine. As a result, the Mathlab machine is able to use the latest versions of the Artificial Intelligence time-sharing systems.

AI memo 238, April 1972:

The ITS system is to be used by the Project MAC Mathlab group on their own PDP-10 Computer. This should increase the incentive for real modularity which has been lacking with a one installation system (Actually the Project MAC Dynamic Modelling Group uses a non-paged early offshoot of ITS on their PDP-10.)

Much of the work in setting up the initial Mathlab system is being done by Richard L. Greenblatt.

RFC 366 from 28 June 1972 says "During this period the MIT Math Lab PDP-10 (Network address 198) became a server."

Email from GSB, March 9th 1984:

Date: 8 Mar 1984 20:45 PST (Thu)
From: Ian Macky

. . .
The "internal error" was apparently due to cca's being down.
And ML has officially gone west.

But it hasn't reached the horizon yet, so don't dyke it out of the host tables. Its disk has been fixed, and its processor/pager problem is going to be worked on this weekend. While i don't expect it to accept incoming net connections ever, it will certainly need to reach out and write some files.

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@taa01776 As you can se in previous comments, I found some references to the Dynamic Modeling PDP-6. Do you know what that machine was used for? Was it running some version of ITS? Did it ever?

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 16, 2016

@taa01776 As you can se in previous comments, I found some references to the Dynamic Modeling PDP-6. Do you know what that machine was used for? Was it running some version of ITS? Did it ever?

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AI PDP-6

Lawrence Krakauer:

ITS, written by Greenblatt and others, initially ran on the PDP-6, which was delivered to the AI lab on October 6, 1964.

SYSDOC; ITS HISTRY

[1115] 5/27/78
The following items deleted from the AI system (softwarily):
340, DSD, OMX, IMX, N D/A, PDP6, H CLK

Lawrence Krakauer:

The PDP-6 was retained until February 16, 1982, when it became impossible to maintain, and was taken apart. I know these dates because I have a board from the PDP-6 hanging on my office wall, with a label giving the dates the machine was delivered and demolished. See my blog entry "Personal computers", at http://ljkrakauer.com/LJK/essays/pc.htm.

"Getting Started Computing at the Al Lab", 1982

MIT-AI is a modified PDP-10 KA computer which runs the powerful Incompatible Timesharing System (ITS). Along with the now-demolished PDP-6 computer, this old machine served as the primary computational resource for the first part of our history. Because of its old age, Al is not a very reliable computer, and most people do not store important files on it.
MIT-OZ is a PDP-10 KL model B computer (a "PDP-20"). Acquired in June of 1982, this machine is intended to serve along side and eventually replace the services of the KA.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 16, 2016

AI PDP-6

Lawrence Krakauer:

ITS, written by Greenblatt and others, initially ran on the PDP-6, which was delivered to the AI lab on October 6, 1964.

SYSDOC; ITS HISTRY

[1115] 5/27/78
The following items deleted from the AI system (softwarily):
340, DSD, OMX, IMX, N D/A, PDP6, H CLK

Lawrence Krakauer:

The PDP-6 was retained until February 16, 1982, when it became impossible to maintain, and was taken apart. I know these dates because I have a board from the PDP-6 hanging on my office wall, with a label giving the dates the machine was delivered and demolished. See my blog entry "Personal computers", at http://ljkrakauer.com/LJK/essays/pc.htm.

"Getting Started Computing at the Al Lab", 1982

MIT-AI is a modified PDP-10 KA computer which runs the powerful Incompatible Timesharing System (ITS). Along with the now-demolished PDP-6 computer, this old machine served as the primary computational resource for the first part of our history. Because of its old age, Al is not a very reliable computer, and most people do not store important files on it.
MIT-OZ is a PDP-10 KL model B computer (a "PDP-20"). Acquired in June of 1982, this machine is intended to serve along side and eventually replace the services of the KA.

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ALAN; ITSPAP 7

Sequence of machines:
AI pdp6
DM pdp6
AI ka10 (first as attached processor; role switch)
DM ka10 (pdp6 flushed)
ML ka10 (first non-special-I/O-oriented system)
MX kl10 (expand ML group to high performance)
AI ks10 (begin renaissance)
...

Converted for KL in 1975(running in December). (Model A microcode only.)

Converted for KS in 1984.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 16, 2016

ALAN; ITSPAP 7

Sequence of machines:
AI pdp6
DM pdp6
AI ka10 (first as attached processor; role switch)
DM ka10 (pdp6 flushed)
ML ka10 (first non-special-I/O-oriented system)
MX kl10 (expand ML group to high performance)
AI ks10 (begin renaissance)
...

Converted for KL in 1975(running in December). (Model A microcode only.)

Converted for KS in 1984.

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AI KA10

Project MAC Progress Report IV, 1967:

It appears that at some time within the next year, it will be desirable to add a second processor to our central computer, the PDP-6. The initial selection of the PDP-6 computer was based in part on the fact that it was the only major-machine available that had built-in room for expansion, not only in input-output channels (which have grown steadily) but also in memory channels and in additional central-processor capacity. The manufacturer has continued to develop this concept and can offer a completely program-compatible second processor. This new processor, called the PDP-10, is about twice as fast as the present PDP-6, and if added with a small amount of its own very fast memory ought to triple the system's bulk computation rate.

RFC 254 from October 1971 says:

The MIT PDP-10(AI) system uses the ITS operating system and is similar to the MIT PDP-10(DMCG) system. At present the host is not connected to the ARPANET.

RFC 342 from 15 May 1972 adds AI as a Network User. In RFC 344 is had become a server.

#403 (comment) has the time AI started running TCP/IP:

MIT-AI started running ITS 1312 on December 31 at 21:03-EST

MSG: AI 1
Date: 05/02/83 13:51:15
From: CSTACY @ MIT-MC

The AI KA10 has been flushed, please update your programs.

Date: Sat, 8 Feb 86 03:15:22 EST
From: "Pandora B. Berman" CENT%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MC.LCS.MIT.EDU
Subject: Reports of ITS death have been highly exaggerated
To: macrakis@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU, sollins@XX.LCS.MIT.EDU
cc: KS-ITS%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MC.LCS.MIT.EDU
Message-ID: <[AI.AI.MIT.EDU].12905.860208.CENT>

the semi-original AI (that is, the KA-10 rather than the PDP-6) was flushed 3 years ago. the hardware was given to a bunch of hackers from Concourse (an MIT alternative undergrad program) -- after it walked across the street to Bldg. 20, the KA still ran, but had no memory, since its latest memory incarnation was all modified LispM Mem boards, which were given to needy Lispms when the Lab flushed the machine. i think the Concourse hackers have since had access to more of these Mem boards, but they have not (alas!) managed to bring the KA up in full-fledged fashion.

the AIKA went to the concourse computer club folks (an MIT student org.). we told them to tell us if they later decided they didn't want it any more. when peter lothberg came over here to pick up MC, his shipping container had plenty of room left, so we checked to see whether the CCC folks still had it/still wanted it/it still worked in any fashion. we were horrified to discover that Gill Pratt had just sold it to a scrap dealer for its materials, apparently to make room for some sort of solar-car project he was then involved in, without any notice to us whatsoever.

@hga, can you tell us more about the AI KA10, from the CCC perspective?

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 16, 2016

AI KA10

Project MAC Progress Report IV, 1967:

It appears that at some time within the next year, it will be desirable to add a second processor to our central computer, the PDP-6. The initial selection of the PDP-6 computer was based in part on the fact that it was the only major-machine available that had built-in room for expansion, not only in input-output channels (which have grown steadily) but also in memory channels and in additional central-processor capacity. The manufacturer has continued to develop this concept and can offer a completely program-compatible second processor. This new processor, called the PDP-10, is about twice as fast as the present PDP-6, and if added with a small amount of its own very fast memory ought to triple the system's bulk computation rate.

RFC 254 from October 1971 says:

The MIT PDP-10(AI) system uses the ITS operating system and is similar to the MIT PDP-10(DMCG) system. At present the host is not connected to the ARPANET.

RFC 342 from 15 May 1972 adds AI as a Network User. In RFC 344 is had become a server.

#403 (comment) has the time AI started running TCP/IP:

MIT-AI started running ITS 1312 on December 31 at 21:03-EST

MSG: AI 1
Date: 05/02/83 13:51:15
From: CSTACY @ MIT-MC

The AI KA10 has been flushed, please update your programs.

Date: Sat, 8 Feb 86 03:15:22 EST
From: "Pandora B. Berman" CENT%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MC.LCS.MIT.EDU
Subject: Reports of ITS death have been highly exaggerated
To: macrakis@HARVARD.HARVARD.EDU, sollins@XX.LCS.MIT.EDU
cc: KS-ITS%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MC.LCS.MIT.EDU
Message-ID: <[AI.AI.MIT.EDU].12905.860208.CENT>

the semi-original AI (that is, the KA-10 rather than the PDP-6) was flushed 3 years ago. the hardware was given to a bunch of hackers from Concourse (an MIT alternative undergrad program) -- after it walked across the street to Bldg. 20, the KA still ran, but had no memory, since its latest memory incarnation was all modified LispM Mem boards, which were given to needy Lispms when the Lab flushed the machine. i think the Concourse hackers have since had access to more of these Mem boards, but they have not (alas!) managed to bring the KA up in full-fledged fashion.

the AIKA went to the concourse computer club folks (an MIT student org.). we told them to tell us if they later decided they didn't want it any more. when peter lothberg came over here to pick up MC, his shipping container had plenty of room left, so we checked to see whether the CCC folks still had it/still wanted it/it still worked in any fashion. we were horrified to discover that Gill Pratt had just sold it to a scrap dealer for its materials, apparently to make room for some sort of solar-car project he was then involved in, without any notice to us whatsoever.

@hga, can you tell us more about the AI KA10, from the CCC perspective?

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CENT; TAPES SAVE

Project MAC, whence descended the AI Lab and LCS, developed a highly unusual operating system called ITS (Incompatible Timesharing System). For many years it was the only, or the chief, OS used at the labs, so most of the seminal work done here was done on machines running ITS. Full ITS first ran on the AI PDP6, and was ported to the DM PDP6. Later, PDP10s became available, and the labs acquired some of the earliest ones -- the AI-KA10 (AI Lab's machine), the ML KA-10 (used by the MathLab, Theory of Computation, Automatic Programming, and certain other LCS gruops), and the DMS KA-10 (Dynamic Modeling systems, also used by certain other LCS groups); these replaced the PDP-6s, which were slowly phased out. The well-known MACSYMA program was started on the AI-KA, moved to the ML-KA when that machine case online and there underwent much development, and finally needed some space to really run. At that point the Macsyma Consortium was established and bought MC, the first KL-10A installed outside DEC.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 16, 2016

CENT; TAPES SAVE

Project MAC, whence descended the AI Lab and LCS, developed a highly unusual operating system called ITS (Incompatible Timesharing System). For many years it was the only, or the chief, OS used at the labs, so most of the seminal work done here was done on machines running ITS. Full ITS first ran on the AI PDP6, and was ported to the DM PDP6. Later, PDP10s became available, and the labs acquired some of the earliest ones -- the AI-KA10 (AI Lab's machine), the ML KA-10 (used by the MathLab, Theory of Computation, Automatic Programming, and certain other LCS gruops), and the DMS KA-10 (Dynamic Modeling systems, also used by certain other LCS groups); these replaced the PDP-6s, which were slowly phased out. The well-known MACSYMA program was started on the AI-KA, moved to the ML-KA when that machine case online and there underwent much development, and finally needed some space to really run. At that point the Macsyma Consortium was established and bought MC, the first KL-10A installed outside DEC.

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The Australian FU KS10

Huw Davies:

Flinders University had a 36 bit system (I’m not sure if it was a KI or KL). I think they were running TOPS-20 on it. I see in the notes the they were running ITS on a KS


These Australians are really serious.

(1)How may I obtain a source tape of everything useful in ITS? Is this a reasonable request? I know they are already sexed up about bending a 1090's microcode, and they would like to know much more about ITS.

(2)These clowns really think they can do a VLSI pdp-10, and create a new market for a 10 in a terminal. I said "address space too small error" and they said "look at VAX: a 10 gives you about the same number of bits to address". I said "software unsupported error" and they said "good, at least the software has a fighting chance if DEC stays away from it". So... giving them the benefit of the doubt ... I still intend to send them what info they need, hoping always that someone else will attempt the project rather than my company.

Sure, we can send them a tape. We can probably even send them a 9-track tape. (Now that AI's tape drive is up. The last people we mailed an ITS tape had to find a 7-track drive!) There should be a "standard" ITS distribution tape set by the end of January or so, for the benefit of people with 2020s. That set would include, besides 2020 boot tapes, a tape or two of source code, and other things any ITS should have in its filesystem. We could just mail them that tape, and a description of ITS DUMP format (which is trivial).

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 16, 2016

The Australian FU KS10

Huw Davies:

Flinders University had a 36 bit system (I’m not sure if it was a KI or KL). I think they were running TOPS-20 on it. I see in the notes the they were running ITS on a KS


These Australians are really serious.

(1)How may I obtain a source tape of everything useful in ITS? Is this a reasonable request? I know they are already sexed up about bending a 1090's microcode, and they would like to know much more about ITS.

(2)These clowns really think they can do a VLSI pdp-10, and create a new market for a 10 in a terminal. I said "address space too small error" and they said "look at VAX: a 10 gives you about the same number of bits to address". I said "software unsupported error" and they said "good, at least the software has a fighting chance if DEC stays away from it". So... giving them the benefit of the doubt ... I still intend to send them what info they need, hoping always that someone else will attempt the project rather than my company.

Sure, we can send them a tape. We can probably even send them a 9-track tape. (Now that AI's tape drive is up. The last people we mailed an ITS tape had to find a 7-track drive!) There should be a "standard" ITS distribution tape set by the end of January or so, for the benefit of people with 2020s. That set would include, besides 2020 boot tapes, a tape or two of source code, and other things any ITS should have in its filesystem. We could just mail them that tape, and a description of ITS DUMP format (which is trivial).

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larsbrinkhoff Dec 17, 2016

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MC KL10 (also MX)

Project MAC Progress Report XIII, page 69:

The Consortium purchased a KL-10 computer which is approximately five times as fast as our older KA-10 computer.
A DEC KL-10 system was purchased for the Consortium largely from ARPA funds, and was delivered in July 1975. Guy L. Steele and David A. Moon rewrote the microcode for the machine so that it simulated the pager on the Mathlab KA-10 and our ITS operating system was in operation in November.

#403 (comment) has the date from 1982 MC started running TCP/IP:

MIT-MC was doing TCP on December 19th.

Date: Thu, 8 Sep 88 21:39:25 EDT
From: "Pandora B. Berman" CENT@AI.AI.MIT.EDU
Subject: The end of the world as we used to know it
To: (*MSG *ITS)@AI.AI.MIT.EDU, ARPANET-BBOARDS@AI.AI.MIT.EDU, INFO-ITS@AI.AI.MIT.EDU
Message-ID: 439827.880908.CENT@AI.AI.MIT.EDU

"The time has come," said LCS,
"MX at last must go.
Its day has gone. We need that space
Most urgently." And so
Before we crate it, let us give
A final cheerio.

Once there was a KL-10 called MIT-MC which belonged to the Macsyma Consortium. It provided Macsyma, the symbolic algebra system, to researchers all over the world, and mail gatewaying and mailing list support to a large fraction of the Arpanet. Things continued in this fashion from 1975 to 1983.

When the Macsyma Consortium dissolved in 1983, MC turned to providing cycles for MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, and continued supporting much of the Arpanet's mail service. But the machine itself was growing old and cranky. In 1986, the mail services were moved to a smaller, more maintainable machine (a KS-10), and the name "MC" was moved with them. But the KL-10 continued to run under the new name "MX".

Now the end has come. MX was down cold for several months, and has only been revived recently to copy some old 7-track tapes. LCS can't keep MX any longer -- it needs the space for other purposes. So the KL is being sent to the Home for Aged But Beloved PDP-10s; a crack team of hardware hackers will arrive next week to dismantle it and take it back with them to Sweden.

Last seen online September 16th 1988, according to AI: BAWDEN; UPTIME DATA.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 17, 2016

MC KL10 (also MX)

Project MAC Progress Report XIII, page 69:

The Consortium purchased a KL-10 computer which is approximately five times as fast as our older KA-10 computer.
A DEC KL-10 system was purchased for the Consortium largely from ARPA funds, and was delivered in July 1975. Guy L. Steele and David A. Moon rewrote the microcode for the machine so that it simulated the pager on the Mathlab KA-10 and our ITS operating system was in operation in November.

#403 (comment) has the date from 1982 MC started running TCP/IP:

MIT-MC was doing TCP on December 19th.

Date: Thu, 8 Sep 88 21:39:25 EDT
From: "Pandora B. Berman" CENT@AI.AI.MIT.EDU
Subject: The end of the world as we used to know it
To: (*MSG *ITS)@AI.AI.MIT.EDU, ARPANET-BBOARDS@AI.AI.MIT.EDU, INFO-ITS@AI.AI.MIT.EDU
Message-ID: 439827.880908.CENT@AI.AI.MIT.EDU

"The time has come," said LCS,
"MX at last must go.
Its day has gone. We need that space
Most urgently." And so
Before we crate it, let us give
A final cheerio.

Once there was a KL-10 called MIT-MC which belonged to the Macsyma Consortium. It provided Macsyma, the symbolic algebra system, to researchers all over the world, and mail gatewaying and mailing list support to a large fraction of the Arpanet. Things continued in this fashion from 1975 to 1983.

When the Macsyma Consortium dissolved in 1983, MC turned to providing cycles for MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science, and continued supporting much of the Arpanet's mail service. But the machine itself was growing old and cranky. In 1986, the mail services were moved to a smaller, more maintainable machine (a KS-10), and the name "MC" was moved with them. But the KL-10 continued to run under the new name "MX".

Now the end has come. MX was down cold for several months, and has only been revived recently to copy some old 7-track tapes. LCS can't keep MX any longer -- it needs the space for other purposes. So the KL is being sent to the Home for Aged But Beloved PDP-10s; a crack team of hardware hackers will arrive next week to dismantle it and take it back with them to Sweden.

Last seen online September 16th 1988, according to AI: BAWDEN; UPTIME DATA.

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ML KS10

Date: Thu, 25 Jan 90 04:43:45 EST
From: "Pandora B. Berman" CENT%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MINTAKA.LCS.MIT.EDU
Subject: adios to ML
To: BUG-ITS%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MINTAKA.LCS.MIT.EDU, POSTMASTER%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MINTAKA.LCS.MIT.EDU, NGL%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MINTAKA.LCS.MIT.EDU
Message-ID: 693233.900125.CENT@AI.AI.MIT.EDU

alan has made an Executive Decision that trying to make ML work again, as well as keeping AI and MC in good shape, is Too Much Work For One Overloaded Grad Student However Encouraging His Friends Are. therefore, ML isn't coming up again. we did a full dump just before it came down in november, so all the files are available.

Last seen online January 1990, according to AI: BAWDEN; UPTIME DATA.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Dec 17, 2016

ML KS10

Date: Thu, 25 Jan 90 04:43:45 EST
From: "Pandora B. Berman" CENT%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MINTAKA.LCS.MIT.EDU
Subject: adios to ML
To: BUG-ITS%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MINTAKA.LCS.MIT.EDU, POSTMASTER%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MINTAKA.LCS.MIT.EDU, NGL%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MINTAKA.LCS.MIT.EDU
Message-ID: 693233.900125.CENT@AI.AI.MIT.EDU

alan has made an Executive Decision that trying to make ML work again, as well as keeping AI and MC in good shape, is Too Much Work For One Overloaded Grad Student However Encouraging His Friends Are. therefore, ML isn't coming up again. we did a full dump just before it came down in november, so all the files are available.

Last seen online January 1990, according to AI: BAWDEN; UPTIME DATA.

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There's a message copied into a comment here which says the KA AI went to the MIT Concourse undergrad program. I haven't seen anything about ML or DM. The KL MC indeed went to Sweden.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Mar 12, 2018

There's a message copied into a comment here which says the KA AI went to the MIT Concourse undergrad program. I haven't seen anything about ML or DM. The KL MC indeed went to Sweden.

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sraustein commented Mar 12, 2018

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Hello SRA,

Thanks for the confirmation! I have talked to Stacken people, but they don't remember anything about a KA ITS, just KS.

They bought their first KA10 from DEC for less than $1. There's a copy of the invoice somewhere. It was pre owned and came from Finland.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Mar 13, 2018

Hello SRA,

Thanks for the confirmation! I have talked to Stacken people, but they don't remember anything about a KA ITS, just KS.

They bought their first KA10 from DEC for less than $1. There's a copy of the invoice somewhere. It was pre owned and came from Finland.

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Pandora Berman answered a question from me:

I see no record of what happened to the KA ML and DM. Do you know?

To the best of my knowledge, they were both scrapped. We have the ML front panel in our home office; Alan thinks an old acquaintance of ours has the DM paging panel. Alan says that for the last few years of its life, the ML-KA was in increasingly bad shape -- down more & more of the time. Alan used it to edit his master's thesis, & was essentially the only ML user for that summer; the previous principal user group, the Med. Group folks, had all evacuated to the farm of Vaxen. Shortly after Alan finished his thesis, ML became too unreliable even for text editing. We think the same sort of thing happened to DM.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Mar 19, 2018

Pandora Berman answered a question from me:

I see no record of what happened to the KA ML and DM. Do you know?

To the best of my knowledge, they were both scrapped. We have the ML front panel in our home office; Alan thinks an old acquaintance of ours has the DM paging panel. Alan says that for the last few years of its life, the ML-KA was in increasingly bad shape -- down more & more of the time. Alan used it to edit his master's thesis, & was essentially the only ML user for that summer; the previous principal user group, the Med. Group folks, had all evacuated to the farm of Vaxen. Shortly after Alan finished his thesis, ML became too unreliable even for text editing. We think the same sort of thing happened to DM.

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ML and DM:

Leonard H. Tower wrote:

Noel Chappa wrote:

They were in the basement of 545 TS, in a random storage room that MIT owned, for a while. I seem to recall that at some later point, when they needed the space, they were taken out and moved somewhere else (not sure whether it was off-site storage, or the scrap bin).

Too many years ago, I saw several racks of DM including the front panel at the old MIT Surplus Property Depot out on the west end of Albany Street. I remember my amazement that it was there, and hadn't been salvaged for a better fate. Don't know what happened to DM after that.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Mar 22, 2018

ML and DM:

Leonard H. Tower wrote:

Noel Chappa wrote:

They were in the basement of 545 TS, in a random storage room that MIT owned, for a while. I seem to recall that at some later point, when they needed the space, they were taken out and moved somewhere else (not sure whether it was off-site storage, or the scrap bin).

Too many years ago, I saw several racks of DM including the front panel at the old MIT Surplus Property Depot out on the west end of Albany Street. I remember my amazement that it was there, and hadn't been salvaged for a better fate. Don't know what happened to DM after that.

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MIT Arpanet hosts:

IMP 6

  • Host 0: Multics
  • Host 1: MIT-DMS
  • Host 2: MIT-AI
  • Host 3: MIT-ML

IMP 44

  • Host 0: MIT-XX
  • Host 2: MIT-TSTGW
  • Host 3: MIT-MC

IMP 77

  • Host 0: MIT-GW
  • Host 1: MIT-DEVMULTICS
  • Host 2: MIT-TAC
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larsbrinkhoff commented Apr 18, 2018

MIT Arpanet hosts:

IMP 6

  • Host 0: Multics
  • Host 1: MIT-DMS
  • Host 2: MIT-AI
  • Host 3: MIT-ML

IMP 44

  • Host 0: MIT-XX
  • Host 2: MIT-TSTGW
  • Host 3: MIT-MC

IMP 77

  • Host 0: MIT-GW
  • Host 1: MIT-DEVMULTICS
  • Host 2: MIT-TAC
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1987-network-map
Network map for some part of MIT, from 1987:
http://www.domain-logic.com/images/1987-network-map.gif

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larsbrinkhoff commented Apr 30, 2018

1987-network-map
Network map for some part of MIT, from 1987:
http://www.domain-logic.com/images/1987-network-map.gif

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sraustein commented Apr 30, 2018

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Thanks @sraustein. We have the full configuration for all MINITS routers, including XI:
https://github.com/PDP-10/minits/blob/master/mits_s/config.849#L708-L768

It looks like the CH11 device is commented out, and there are two Interlan interfaces one of which was unreliable.

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larsbrinkhoff commented May 28, 2018

Thanks @sraustein. We have the full configuration for all MINITS routers, including XI:
https://github.com/PDP-10/minits/blob/master/mits_s/config.849#L708-L768

It looks like the CH11 device is commented out, and there are two Interlan interfaces one of which was unreliable.

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Another network map, just some Lisp machines, AI, MC, SPEECH TOPS-20, and a MINITS terminal concentrator.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Aug 2, 2018

Another network map, just some Lisp machines, AI, MC, SPEECH TOPS-20, and a MINITS terminal concentrator.

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Old HOSTS.TXT files has this to say about the ITS machines and the upcoming Twenexes:

Date DM AI ML MC XX OZ
1983-03-05 1/6 2/6 3/6 3/44 0/44 3/77
1983-05-27 10.1.0.6 MIT-AI-RESERVED 10.3.0.6 10.3.0.44 10.0.0.44 10.3.0.77 "MIT-AI"
1983-06-15 10.1.0.6 MIT-AI-RESERVED 10.3.0.6 10.3.0.44 10.0.0.44 10.3.0.77 "MIT-AI"
1983-11-04 Commented MIT-AI-RESERVED 10.3.0.6 10.3.0.44 "MIT-DMS" 10.0.0.44 Commented

So it seems AI was shut down around April 1983, and DM some time fall 1983. No indication when ML went down; it's removed between 1985-03-03 and 1986-02-05.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Sep 12, 2018

Old HOSTS.TXT files has this to say about the ITS machines and the upcoming Twenexes:

Date DM AI ML MC XX OZ
1983-03-05 1/6 2/6 3/6 3/44 0/44 3/77
1983-05-27 10.1.0.6 MIT-AI-RESERVED 10.3.0.6 10.3.0.44 10.0.0.44 10.3.0.77 "MIT-AI"
1983-06-15 10.1.0.6 MIT-AI-RESERVED 10.3.0.6 10.3.0.44 10.0.0.44 10.3.0.77 "MIT-AI"
1983-11-04 Commented MIT-AI-RESERVED 10.3.0.6 10.3.0.44 "MIT-DMS" 10.0.0.44 Commented

So it seems AI was shut down around April 1983, and DM some time fall 1983. No indication when ML went down; it's removed between 1985-03-03 and 1986-02-05.

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DM KA10

@dlebling wrote in a note to his "MAC-beth" poem (see #1336):

The old project MAC Dynamic Modelling Group got its PDP-10 in 1971. It only had 32K of memory, and the group spent a lot of time building more. It was considered a major achievement when there was first 96K of memory on the DM machine.

There was no memory, and no paging hardware. The system (a heavily modified version of ITS) gave you a contiguous chunk of core, and it was yours until you gave it back: no swapping out, but no sharing either!

DM was finally retired in late 1983.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Oct 10, 2018

DM KA10

@dlebling wrote in a note to his "MAC-beth" poem (see #1336):

The old project MAC Dynamic Modelling Group got its PDP-10 in 1971. It only had 32K of memory, and the group spent a lot of time building more. It was considered a major achievement when there was first 96K of memory on the DM machine.

There was no memory, and no paging hardware. The system (a heavily modified version of ITS) gave you a contiguous chunk of core, and it was yours until you gave it back: no swapping out, but no sharing either!

DM was finally retired in late 1983.

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taa01776 Oct 10, 2018

DM ended up with 512K of memory: the original MA-10s, along with an MD-10 (I still have some spares for that), MF-10, and finally a 256K Ampex ARM-10 ('75 or so). There was some Fabritek memory that never worked well.
It had the usual SC-10 paging box, from sometime well before 1974.
IIRC, it went from 5 RP02 drives to 3 RP02s and 3 RP03s about the same time the ARM-10 was added.
This description sounds more like the DM PDP-6, which I never saw powered up.

taa01776 commented Oct 10, 2018

DM ended up with 512K of memory: the original MA-10s, along with an MD-10 (I still have some spares for that), MF-10, and finally a 256K Ampex ARM-10 ('75 or so). There was some Fabritek memory that never worked well.
It had the usual SC-10 paging box, from sometime well before 1974.
IIRC, it went from 5 RP02 drives to 3 RP02s and 3 RP03s about the same time the ARM-10 was added.
This description sounds more like the DM PDP-6, which I never saw powered up.

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There is a SYSTEM; CONFIG 17 file from 1975. At this point DM had:

  • 512K memory.
  • DC10 with 6 RP02 disks.
  • One TM10B.
  • 8 TTYs connected to the TK10, and 16 (fixed: not 32) to the Morton box.
  • E&S LDS-1 display.

There's this description from ARPANET. The date "December 1978" is mentioned. The hardware section lists:

  • 512K core.
  • DM-10 memory map.
  • A PDP-11 with 56K core.
  • 3 RP02, 3 PR03, and 1 RK05 (for the 11?).
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larsbrinkhoff commented Oct 11, 2018

There is a SYSTEM; CONFIG 17 file from 1975. At this point DM had:

  • 512K memory.
  • DC10 with 6 RP02 disks.
  • One TM10B.
  • 8 TTYs connected to the TK10, and 16 (fixed: not 32) to the Morton box.
  • E&S LDS-1 display.

There's this description from ARPANET. The date "December 1978" is mentioned. The hardware section lists:

  • 512K core.
  • DM-10 memory map.
  • A PDP-11 with 56K core.
  • 3 RP02, 3 PR03, and 1 RK05 (for the 11?).
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mgthompson commented Oct 11, 2018

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As per your list: "144 TOPS-10 MIT-DMS, MA KA10". Well, TOPS-10 isn't right. There's another line "?? ITS MIT-DMS Cambridge, MA KA10".

Also, you have MC listed as a 1088. Wouldn't that be a dual CPU? I have seen 1080.

What we don't know are the numbers for the AI PDP-10, and the DM PDP-6.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Oct 11, 2018

As per your list: "144 TOPS-10 MIT-DMS, MA KA10". Well, TOPS-10 isn't right. There's another line "?? ITS MIT-DMS Cambridge, MA KA10".

Also, you have MC listed as a 1088. Wouldn't that be a dual CPU? I have seen 1080.

What we don't know are the numbers for the AI PDP-10, and the DM PDP-6.

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taa01776 Oct 11, 2018

DM the machine never had an 11 attached. What's mentioned was probably a standalone machine used on the Morse code project DM the group was doing starting in '75.

taa01776 commented Oct 11, 2018

DM the machine never had an 11 attached. What's mentioned was probably a standalone machine used on the Morse code project DM the group was doing starting in '75.

@taa01776 taa01776 closed this Oct 11, 2018

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@jh95468 wrote elsewhere about the Morse code project and their PDP-11:

During my tenure at MIT-DM (1970 through late 1977), the only PDP-11 I recall attached to the DM machine was an 11/05 or /10 that we used as a signal processing front-end for the "Hand Sent Morse Understanding" project. That PDP-11 was in a small lab on the 2nd floor, and connected to the PDP-10 through the same coax lines we used to connect the Imlacs. So it almost certainly went through the "Morton box". The PDP11 interfaced via RS232 to a Collins radio in the lab as well as some custom hardware we built (I remember spending many hours wire-wrapping and debugging augat boards). The PDP-11 did things like A-D conversion and then FFTs of incoming signals, and the custom hardware contained PLLs to lock on to and track individual Morse signals.

SYSTEM; CONFIG 39 to 81 (1976-1980) includes DEFOPT NTYP==1 ;A REAL KLUDGE TO TALK TO THE 11.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Oct 11, 2018

@jh95468 wrote elsewhere about the Morse code project and their PDP-11:

During my tenure at MIT-DM (1970 through late 1977), the only PDP-11 I recall attached to the DM machine was an 11/05 or /10 that we used as a signal processing front-end for the "Hand Sent Morse Understanding" project. That PDP-11 was in a small lab on the 2nd floor, and connected to the PDP-10 through the same coax lines we used to connect the Imlacs. So it almost certainly went through the "Morton box". The PDP11 interfaced via RS232 to a Collins radio in the lab as well as some custom hardware we built (I remember spending many hours wire-wrapping and debugging augat boards). The PDP-11 did things like A-D conversion and then FFTs of incoming signals, and the custom hardware contained PLLs to lock on to and track individual Morse signals.

SYSTEM; CONFIG 39 to 81 (1976-1980) includes DEFOPT NTYP==1 ;A REAL KLUDGE TO TALK TO THE 11.

@larsbrinkhoff larsbrinkhoff reopened this Oct 11, 2018

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david-moon commented Oct 11, 2018

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dlebling618 Oct 11, 2018

I don't recall the Morse Code project ever having an 11. It had a fancy digitally controllable radio, but that was on the 2nd floor.

In DM's early days, there was a PDP-9 right next to it (on the left, for those who recall the lab layout). It was never "attached" though. The 9 was removed when DM got additional disk drives and the space was needed.

The DM PDP-6 was on the right side of the line of cabinets. It was on one of the DM memory ports, so you could theoretically copy data to it. The E&S worked the same way. I don't recall the 6 even being powered up except in fun ("I wonder if it still works?") during the time I was there. When it was finally junked I helped take it apart and unplug it from the 10. This was, IIRC, when the MIT-XX TOPS-20 machine was coming and the space was needed.

dlebling618 commented Oct 11, 2018

I don't recall the Morse Code project ever having an 11. It had a fancy digitally controllable radio, but that was on the 2nd floor.

In DM's early days, there was a PDP-9 right next to it (on the left, for those who recall the lab layout). It was never "attached" though. The 9 was removed when DM got additional disk drives and the space was needed.

The DM PDP-6 was on the right side of the line of cabinets. It was on one of the DM memory ports, so you could theoretically copy data to it. The E&S worked the same way. I don't recall the 6 even being powered up except in fun ("I wonder if it still works?") during the time I was there. When it was finally junked I helped take it apart and unplug it from the 10. This was, IIRC, when the MIT-XX TOPS-20 machine was coming and the space was needed.

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larsbrinkhoff Oct 11, 2018

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Thank you @david-moon. That is indeed something to look into. These are the few facts I can find:

  • For DM, NMTYS is set to 20, which is 16. I had this wrong above.
  • However, ML has it set to 33, i.e. 27.
  • In TS3TTY, the line number is read and written as a 5-bit value.

Unfortunately, I don't have old versions of SYSTEM; TTYTYP which would have listed all terminals.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Oct 11, 2018

Thank you @david-moon. That is indeed something to look into. These are the few facts I can find:

  • For DM, NMTYS is set to 20, which is 16. I had this wrong above.
  • However, ML has it set to 33, i.e. 27.
  • In TS3TTY, the line number is read and written as a 5-bit value.

Unfortunately, I don't have old versions of SYSTEM; TTYTYP which would have listed all terminals.

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dlebling618 Oct 11, 2018

"There is no way ITS with 512K memory could support 40 active users."

At times it couldn't support 4 active users. MUDDLE compilations and ZORK instances could be huge. It might support a lot of inactive users, though.

dlebling618 commented Oct 11, 2018

"There is no way ITS with 512K memory could support 40 active users."

At times it couldn't support 4 active users. MUDDLE compilations and ZORK instances could be huge. It might support a lot of inactive users, though.

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More about tight memory on the early DM ITS, from @dlebling618's MAC-beth email:

occasionally you would hear "I need to do a MIDAS." "Okay, I'll kill my DDT." MIDAS needed fifteen whole pages of memory! It was considered giant. MUDDLE needed 32, and was practically beyond the pale; true overconsumption to use it.

There was a program called GOBBLE at one point which you ran by saying :GOBBLE TECO (for example). It knew TECO was 6 blocks, so it sat around trying to get 6 blocks, and when it did, it .VALUEd ":KILL :TECO ". It was exciting watching it print out how many blocks it had gotten.

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larsbrinkhoff commented Oct 11, 2018

More about tight memory on the early DM ITS, from @dlebling618's MAC-beth email:

occasionally you would hear "I need to do a MIDAS." "Okay, I'll kill my DDT." MIDAS needed fifteen whole pages of memory! It was considered giant. MUDDLE needed 32, and was practically beyond the pale; true overconsumption to use it.

There was a program called GOBBLE at one point which you ran by saying :GOBBLE TECO (for example). It knew TECO was 6 blocks, so it sat around trying to get 6 blocks, and when it did, it .VALUEd ":KILL :TECO ". It was exciting watching it print out how many blocks it had gotten.

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hga Oct 11, 2018

Date: Sat, 8 Feb 86 03:15:22 EST
From: "Pandora B. Berman" [CENT%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MC.LCS.MIT.EDU]
Subject: Reports of ITS death have been highly exaggerated

the semi-original AI (that is, the KA-10 rather than the PDP-6) was flushed 3 years ago. the hardware was given to a bunch of hackers from Concourse (an MIT alternative undergrad program)

Concourse is a first year "alternative undergrad program", basically about 50 students are taught together in the conventional way, except as a group and in a more integrated fashion than normal, and the Institute likes it if for no other reason than that it costs them about half as much as the normal system. As far as I can remember, the only Concourse Computer Center (CCC) hacker who was actually a member was myself, the founder, because the hardest single thing was finding space for the LOGO Lab's PDP-11/45 which became surplus around the beginning of 1980 when the Lab was running out of everything. At the time legendary EE professor Jerome Letvin was the head of Concourse, and he was able to find surplus space in Building 20 for it. Any Concourse student was of course encouraged to use it or any of the subsequent systems we scored, computing time was a very scarce resource back then, but its connection to the Concourse program was otherwise very tenuous.

-- after it walked across the street to Bldg. 20, the KA still ran, but had no memory, since its latest memory incarnation was all modified LispM Mem boards, which were given to needy Lispms when the Lab flushed the machine. i think the Concourse hackers have since had access to more of these Mem boards, but they have not (alas!) managed to bring the KA up in full-fledged fashion.

That matches my memory although I wasn't involved in this effort, my impression is that it was treated as an historical artifact to study by the more EE inclined CCC hackers. I also noticed large piles of Knight TV bitmapped monitors and keyboards.

the AIKA went to the concourse computer club folks (an MIT student org.). we told them to tell us if they later decided they didn't want it any more. when peter lothberg came over here to pick up MC, his shipping container had plenty of room left, so we checked to see whether the CCC folks still had it/still wanted it/it still worked in any fashion. we were horrified to discover that Gill Pratt had just sold it to a scrap dealer for its materials, apparently to make room for some sort of solar-car project he was then involved in, without any notice to us whatsoever.

Let's just say that no one who knew him well was surprised when the School of Engineering took the very rare action of vetoing the EECS Department's decision to grant Gill tenure.

hga commented Oct 11, 2018

Date: Sat, 8 Feb 86 03:15:22 EST
From: "Pandora B. Berman" [CENT%AI.AI.MIT.EDU@MC.LCS.MIT.EDU]
Subject: Reports of ITS death have been highly exaggerated

the semi-original AI (that is, the KA-10 rather than the PDP-6) was flushed 3 years ago. the hardware was given to a bunch of hackers from Concourse (an MIT alternative undergrad program)

Concourse is a first year "alternative undergrad program", basically about 50 students are taught together in the conventional way, except as a group and in a more integrated fashion than normal, and the Institute likes it if for no other reason than that it costs them about half as much as the normal system. As far as I can remember, the only Concourse Computer Center (CCC) hacker who was actually a member was myself, the founder, because the hardest single thing was finding space for the LOGO Lab's PDP-11/45 which became surplus around the beginning of 1980 when the Lab was running out of everything. At the time legendary EE professor Jerome Letvin was the head of Concourse, and he was able to find surplus space in Building 20 for it. Any Concourse student was of course encouraged to use it or any of the subsequent systems we scored, computing time was a very scarce resource back then, but its connection to the Concourse program was otherwise very tenuous.

-- after it walked across the street to Bldg. 20, the KA still ran, but had no memory, since its latest memory incarnation was all modified LispM Mem boards, which were given to needy Lispms when the Lab flushed the machine. i think the Concourse hackers have since had access to more of these Mem boards, but they have not (alas!) managed to bring the KA up in full-fledged fashion.

That matches my memory although I wasn't involved in this effort, my impression is that it was treated as an historical artifact to study by the more EE inclined CCC hackers. I also noticed large piles of Knight TV bitmapped monitors and keyboards.

the AIKA went to the concourse computer club folks (an MIT student org.). we told them to tell us if they later decided they didn't want it any more. when peter lothberg came over here to pick up MC, his shipping container had plenty of room left, so we checked to see whether the CCC folks still had it/still wanted it/it still worked in any fashion. we were horrified to discover that Gill Pratt had just sold it to a scrap dealer for its materials, apparently to make room for some sort of solar-car project he was then involved in, without any notice to us whatsoever.

Let's just say that no one who knew him well was surprised when the School of Engineering took the very rare action of vetoing the EECS Department's decision to grant Gill tenure.

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jh95468 commented Oct 11, 2018

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dlebling618 Oct 11, 2018

I conflated the radio and the PDP-11 into one device.

I'm fairly sure that we moved the processed audio file to the ITS PDP-10 using tftp (or a precursor) via a TTY line.

dlebling618 commented Oct 11, 2018

I conflated the radio and the PDP-11 into one device.

I'm fairly sure that we moved the processed audio file to the ITS PDP-10 using tftp (or a precursor) via a TTY line.

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jh95468 Oct 11, 2018

Yep, I can't think of any other way we might have moved files. Metcalfe hadn't invented Ethernet yet. Extending the PDP-10 or PDP-11 bus from the 9th floor to the 2nd floor would have been ridiculous....especially after the unfortunate incident with the CIA motivated building management to take back my key to the wiring closets......

I've often wondered how technical progress is influenced by such unlikely issues as allocation of office and lab space. If we hadn't been forced to be 7 floors away from our computers, we never would have felt the need to develop such 'client/server' techniques for using systems with small computers interacting with larger ones.

Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

jh95468 commented Oct 11, 2018

Yep, I can't think of any other way we might have moved files. Metcalfe hadn't invented Ethernet yet. Extending the PDP-10 or PDP-11 bus from the 9th floor to the 2nd floor would have been ridiculous....especially after the unfortunate incident with the CIA motivated building management to take back my key to the wiring closets......

I've often wondered how technical progress is influenced by such unlikely issues as allocation of office and lab space. If we hadn't been forced to be 7 floors away from our computers, we never would have felt the need to develop such 'client/server' techniques for using systems with small computers interacting with larger ones.

Necessity truly is the mother of invention.

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