7. SFU (Simon Fraser University)

posted Oct 30, 2010, 9:53 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Aug 26, 2013, 4:52 AM ]
In 1977 Simon Fraser University (SFU) was the seventh and last site to join the MTS Consortium. Durham University was the eighth MTS Consortium site, but they had been using MTS as part of NUMAC for many years before NUMAC installed a system to run MTS at Durham.

We don't have a lot of information on the path that SFU took that ended with them running MTS.  We are hoping that someone from SFU can supply more information.

Because SFU is close to UBC and not too far away from UQV, I've always assumed that relationships with those sites played a role. But I'm only guessing and don't have any real facts to base this on.

Ralph Sayle (UBC) did share the following with me in an e-mail message he sent in June 2010:

I know [Jeff] Berryman and I met Bruce [Cowan] [SFU] on the flight heading to the first UM Workshop in 1976 and he said SFU were going to run MTS. He also said they were about to advertise for a "John Hogg type" and then in 1977 hired Charlie Benet away from Alberta.

On Apr 18, 2011, at 1:01 PM, Bruce Cowan wrote:

Hi Jeff,
No, I didn’t find anything. But my memory is fairly good:
I initially learned about MTS because my girlfriend at the time worked at TRIUMF which used UBC computing facilities. That got me wondering about whether it was a better idea for university academic computing than what SFU was doing which was running admin & academic together under IBM’s OS/360. Independently, there were a few meetings between UBC and SFU Computing Centre people just to get to know each other, arranged by the directors and/or associate directors – not sure who exactly – because they met at various places. Also met with UVic (on Vancouver island) folks, and saw a few UA folks at CIPS (Canadian Information Processing Society) meetings. I began pushing for SFU to run MTS to serve the academics better than OS/360 did. I was in charge of system programming at the time or perhaps operations – system programming reported to operations – don’t remember the exact timing. We also had at least one other manager type in the Computing Centre who had some experience with MTS, Art Stanley-Jones, and he was supportive of the idea. After a bunch of Computing Centre management meetings we decided to give it a try, so we procured an IBM 370/148 and got it running. As you know, I poached Charlie Benet from UA to help – that was pretty easy, just suggested he might prefer commuting between Vancouver and Victoria rather than Edmonton and Victoria.
More later.
Learned about MTS from contacts at the UBC Computing Centre. John Hogg and Berryman (first name escapes me right now) primarily.

Bruce Cowan | Technical Consultant, Kodak MarketMover Business Advantage Solutions | Eastman Kodak Company | Burnaby, BC | Canada ...

On Apr 18, 2011, at 1:57 PM, Bruce Cowan wrote:

The organization at SFU was called the Computing Centre. Changed its name to Computing Services somewhere in there but I can’t pin down the timing. The building at the time was just called the Administration Building. We occupied essentially the whole of the first below-ground floor. There was one partial floor lower which had the print shop, but it was 2 stories high (the press was a pretty tall beast) and beside us, not under us. Now the building is called Strand Hall and IT Services still occupies the same space, but what was Computing Services has been broken up into 2 separate entities one of which serves administration and the other academics – IT Services is the academic service part, don’t know what the other part is called.
I’m trying to pin down in my memory when Ross Jewell left and Will Jones became the Director in relation to when we got MTS.

Bruce Cowan | Technical Consultant, Kodak MarketMover Business Advantage Solutions | Eastman Kodak Company | Burnaby, BC  | Canada ...

From: Jeff Ogden
Sent: Monday, 18 April 2011 11:05
To: Bruce Cowan
Subject: Re: a message from your past (MTS)
Thanks again.
I remember the name Will Jones and I don't remember Ross Jewell.  Not sure if that helps or that I just have a poor memory for things that took place over 30 years ago.

From: "Bruce Cowan"
Date: April 18, 2011 2:16:59 PM EDT
To: "Jeff Ogden"
Subject: RE: a message from your past (MTS)

But Ross left right around 1976, because I looked up when Wang Laboratories made its big splash with its word processors – June 1976 – and Ross left to form a company very soon thereafter, thinking he’d somehow make his fortune with those beasts (he didn’t). So, he may have still been director when I went to the workshop, but Will would have been director when we actually got MTS. Unfortunately can’t check with any of those people because I’ve long since lost track of Ross and both Art and Will are long since deceased, both dying rather young, Art still in his 50s and Will in his 60s, and both of heart attacks.
Bruce Cowan | Technical Consultant, Kodak MarketMover Business Advantage Solutions | Eastman Kodak Company | Burnaby, BC  | Canada ...