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#1: Timeline (General)

posted Jun 14, 2014, 6:37 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated May 15, 2019, 3:37 AM ]
Otherwise unreferenced items are from the article "MTS Timeline" in the Information Technology Digest, University of Michigan, pp.9-10, Volume 5, No. 5 (May 13, 1996). [UMITD96]

Items refer to events at the University of Michigan unless otherwise noted.


late 1940s
  • Michigan Digital Automatic Computer, MIDAC, built by and for the use of U-M's Willow Run Research Center, was one of 24 electronic computers in the U.S. at the time. [UMRNews76]
  • Logic of Computers Group formed at U-M with Arthur Burks as chair. [UMRNews76]
  • A second computer, similar to the MIDAC, was built for the U-M's Willow Run Research Center. The development and use of this computer was classified. [UMRNews76]
  • An IBM Model 650 digital electronic computer was obtained by U-M's Statistical Research Laboratory which in turn was the beginning of routine large-scale research and instructional computing at U-M. [UMRNews76]
  • The Generalized Algorithmic Translator (GAT) programming language and compiler developed at U-M for use on the IBM 650. [UMRNews76]
  • Program in computer and communication sciences formed at U-M. [UMRNews76]


  • Ford Foundation five year $900,000 project at U-M on the Use of Computers in Engineering is funded. [UMRNews76]
  • Computing Center established as a unit within U-M's Rackham Graduate School to be housed at the North University Building (NUB). Robert C. F. Bartels appointed the Center's first director. A three-year grant of $150,000 from the National Science Foundation helps to establish and operate the Computing Center. [UMRNews76]
  • An IBM 704 computer installed at the U-M Computing Center in August is for at least some operations 100 times faster than the IBM 650. [UMRNews76]
  • Michigan Algorithmic Decoder (MAD) programming language and compiler developed at U-M for use on the IBM 704 and later the IBM 709 and 7090 by Bruce Arden, Bernard Galler, and Robert Graham. [UMRNews76]
  • The IBM 704 at U-M operates under the control of the University of Michigan Executive System (UMES), a batch processing monitor developed from a similar system at the General Motors Technical Center. [UMRNews76]
  • The IBM 709 computer at U-M's Willow Run Laboratories is transferred to the Computing Center in January and moved to the North University Building in August replacing the Center's IBM 704. [UMRNews76]
  • In September an IBM 7090, a transistorized or solid-state version of the 709, but six times faster, replaces the U-M Computing Center's IBM 709. [UMRNews76]
  • The U-M Computing Center moves administratively from the Graduate School to the Office of the Vice-President for Research. [UMRNews76]
  • An Ad Hoc Computer Advisory Committee chaired by Donald Katz is appointed by U-M Vice-President for Academic Affairs. [UMRNews76]


  • In December the "Katz Committee" recommends "that the University pursue as rapidly as possible the creation of a time-sharing system". The ad hoc committee becomes the Computer Policy Committee to advise the Vice-President for Research. [UMRNews76]
  • Program in computer and communication sciences becomes a department within U-M's College of Literature, Sciences, and the Arts. [UMRNews76]
  • ARPA funded CONCOMP Project (Research in Conversational Use of Computers) funded by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) within the U.S. Department of Defense begins. Frank Westervelt an Associate Director at the U-M Computing Center is the Project Director. [UMCCNews71]

  • As part of U-M's CONCOMP Project an IBM System 360 Model 50 is located at the North University Building (NUBS). This system is used for early MTS development work (May). [UMITD96]
  • Merit Network founded as the Michigan Education Research and Information Triad by Michigan State University, Wayne State University, and the University of Michigan. [UMITD96]
  • MTS development started at U-M, briefly called LTS (LLMPS Terminal System) after MIT's Lincoln Laboratory Multi-Programming Supervisor. Initially intended as an experimental system to gain experience until IBM's TSS became available. [UMITD96]
  • U-M's first Data Concentrator built (as part of the ConComp Project). For more than 10 years, these provided the bulk of the terminal, mini-, and microcomputer access to MTS for timesharing users. [UMITD96]


  • The U-M Computing Center obtains a new single processor IBM System 360 Model 67 serial #2 (January). [UMITD96]
  • MTS released to the U-M campus as operating system for IBM S/360-67 (May). [UMITD96]
  • Batch-mode access and billing for CPU time added to MTS. [UMITD96]
  • MTS starts using the virtual memory features of the IBM S/360-67 (fall). [UMITD96]
  • MTS Volumes I and II (second edition) published (December).
  • 1968
    • First remote graphics station connected to MTS (February). [UMITD96]
    • The U-M Computing Center obtains dual-processor IBM S/360-67 (August). [UMITD96]
    • Distribution 1.0 of MTS (October). [MTSDist12]
    • University of British Columbia runs MTS (November). [UMITD96]


    • MTS Distribution 1 mod 1. [MTSDist12]
    • University of Newcastle runs MTS (February). [UMITD96]
    • Construction commences on U-M's new North Campus Computing Center Building (October). [UMITD96]
  • 1970
    • ARPA funded CONCOMP Project (Research in Conversational Use of Computers) ends. [UMCCNews71]
    • MTS Distribution D2.0 (February). [MTSDist12]
    • MTS Distribution D2.1 (June). [MTSDist12]
    • University of Alberta runs MTS (September). [UMITD96]
    • MTS Distribution D2.2. [MTSDist12]
  • 1971
    • First issue of the U-M Computing Center Newsletter published (January). [UMCCNews71c ]
    • Wayne State University runs MTS (January). [UMITD96]
    • U-M Computing Center moves to new building; NUBS remains as a remote batch station (April). [UMITD96]
    • MTS runs on an Amdahl 470V/6 computer at U-M (serial number 2).¹ [UMITD96]


    • MTS Distribution 2.3. [MTSDist12]
    • Telex disks replace IBM disks and Data Cell with "equivalent storage capacity" at U-M (January).
    • U-M adds really shared files and file locking added (October).


    • Two ITEL 7830 disk control units and 20 ITEL 7330 disk drives replace previous disk equipment at U-M (June).
    • MTS Distribution 3.0 (August).


    • MTS Distribution 3.1 (March). [MTSDist12]
    • First MTS workshop held at University of British Columbia (May). [UMITD96]
  • 1975
    • CONFER software provides conferencing and e-mail services via MTS at U-M. [UMITD96]
    • An Amdahl 470V/6 (serial #2) installed at U-M.
    • MTS Distribution 3.2 (March), first distribution to support the S/370, only distribution to support both the S/360-67 and S/370. [MTSDist12]
    • Maximum length of a line file line increased from 255 to 32767; the maximum size of a line file increased from 255
      pages to 32767 pages at U-M (October).
    • The Merit "Which Host?" network prompt first appears. [UMITD96]
    • A computer conference, MNET:CAUCUS, open to the public using CONFER was started by the Merit Network as a reporting facility for network problems and questions, and a forum for discussion of network design and improvement, and other network-related topics (February 1976). [UMCCNews76]
    • Support for program keys added at U-M (April).
    • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) runs MTS (July). [UMITD96]
    • Confer and MTS at U-M used in support of a conference of the International Society for Technology Assessment (October). [UMITD96]


    • MTS Distribution 4.0 (August), supports S/370, but not S/360-67.
    • Simon Fraser University (SFU) runs MTS.


    • MTS Distribution 4.1 (May). [MTSDist12]


    • MTS Distribution 4.2 (March). [MTSDist12]
    • MTS Redistribution D4.2A or RD16 (July). [MTSDist12]
    • MTS Redistribution D4.2B or RD17 (October). [MTSDist12]


    • MTS Distribution 4.3 (May). [MTSDist12]


    • Microcomputer access to MTS at U-M provided. [UMITD96]
    • MTS Distribution 5.0 (August). [MTSDist12]
    • $MESSAGE e-mail available on MTS at U-M (July). [UMITD96]


    • University of Durham runs MTS as part of NUMAC.
    • MTS at U-M able to send and receive e-mail to and from remote, non-MTS systems (September). [UMITD96]
    • U-M deploys first Secondary Communications Processor (SCP). [UMITD96]
    • MTS Distribution 5.1 (August). [MTSDist12]
    • U-M forms the Information Technology Division (ITD) by combining the Computing Center, the Office of Administrative Systems, and the Office of Telecommunications. [UMITD96]


    • UB system and request accounts available to the U-M campus community (May). [UMITD96]

    • The first U-M computer conference organized by students (Meet:students) is opened to all students using Confer on MTS (January). [UMITD96]


    • MTS Distribution 6.0 (April), the last formal distribution. [MTSDist12]
    • NUMAC (Newcastle and Durham) stop running MTS.
    • SFU stops running MTS.
    • UB system merged into UM system (January). [UMITD96]


    • University of Alberta stops running MTS.
    • More than 49 million messages sent since 1981 using e-mail on MTS at U-M (April). [UMITD96]
    • MTS retired at U-M. Still running at Wayne State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic University, and the University of British Columbia (June). [UMITD96]


    • UBC stops running MTS.
    • WSU stops running MTS.
    • MTS retired at RPI. Believed to be the last site to run MTS (June). [UMITD96]

    2000 and beyond

    • The web site archive.michigan-terminal-system.org (a Google Sites site) is created as a place to gather, store, and preserve information about MTS until better institutional homes with a longer term future can be found for the material (fall).
    • Documents in the Hathi Trust Digital Library related to MTS and the U-M Computing Center are switched from "search-only" to "full-view".
    • MTS documentation available via bitsavers.org is expanded (January).
    • The Bentley Historical Library at the University of Michigan adds MTS documentation to U-M's Deep Blue digital archive (March).
    • U-M gives permission to make MTS source and object code freely and widely available to the public under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0) (July).
    • MTS source and object is made available on bitsavers.com (December).
    • Less than two days later MTS D6.0 (1988) is successfully IPLed under the Hercules 390 emulator by someone with no previous experience with MTS (December).
    • The Yahoo! Groups group H390-MTS is created as a place to hold discussions among folks running MTS on the Hercules emulator.
    • MTS source and object is made available on U-M's Deep Blue digital archive.
    • MTS version D6.0A is released on the MTS Archive site. It is based on the D6.0 version of MTS from 1988 with various fixes and updates to make installation and operation under Hercules in 2012 smoother. [MTSDist12]
    • Richard Chycosk reports that "Using Hercules and the Raspbian release of Linux, I have MTS running on a Raspberry Pi" (December).

    ¹   Other sources say the Amdahl showed up in 1974 [and in fact serial #2 of the Amdahl 470V/6 was installed at U-M in 1975].


    [MTSDist12]         "MTS Distributions at the Bitsavers Software Archive", 21 January 2012.
    [UMCCNews71]    "Arrivals and Departures", Computing Center Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1 (7 January 1971), University of Michigan, page 6.
    [UMCCNews71b]  "Welcome", Computing Center Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 1 (7 January 1971), University of Michigan, page 1.
    [UMCCNews71c ] "The Great Leap Forward", Computing Center Newsletter, Vol. 1, No. 2 (21 January 1971), University of Michigan, pages 1 and 2.
    [UMCCNews76]    "Computer Conference for Network Users", Computing Center Newsletter, Volume 6, Number 4 (18 February 1976), University of Michigan, page 2.
    [UMITD96]            "MTS Timeline", Information Technology Digest, University of Michigan, pp.9-10, Volume 5, No. 5 (May 13, 1996).
    [UMRNews76]      "A Faster Cratchet", Research News, Vol. XXVII, No. 1 (January 1976), University of Michigan, 24 pages.