Correction from Jeff Ogden

posted Oct 7, 2014, 5:50 AM by Jeff Ogden   [ updated Oct 7, 2014, 9:08 AM ]
I sent the following correction to John Woodford, the Executive Editor of Michigan Today. Mr. Woodford's brief reply follows.

I was reading the article "Engineering's 150 Years" in the Summer
2004 issue of Michigan Today (Vol. 36, No. 2) and was disturbed to
read on page 8 "Armed with a new IBM 370 mainframe but no operating
system, College programmers began to develop the Michigan Terminal
System, ...".  This statement is not true.  MTS was developed by the
staff of the UofM Computing Center and the Computing Center was never
part of the College of Engineering. While the faculty, students, and
staff of the College of Engineering were active users of MTS, they
played little or no role in the system's early development. The
Computing Center was administratively under the Vice President for
Research and its first director, Robert C. F. Bartels, was a
Professor of Mathematics in the College of Literature, Science, and
the Arts.

In 1966 there were no IBM 370 computers. At that time the systems
from IBM were part of the 360 series and the University of Michigan
made arrangements with IBM to build an experimental system equipped
with hardware to support virtual memory.  This system was originally
designated the IBM 360/65M (M for Michigan), but was changed by IBM
to the 360/67 when other organizations wanted to purchase similar
systems. At the time IBM had no operating system that used the
virtual memory hardware, but was developing a system called Time
Sharing System (TSS) that would. Delivery of TSS was delayed and
eventually cancelled by IBM and the UofM made a decision to continue
development of MTS, a system that was originally developed to gain
some experience with the 360/67 hardware while waiting for TSS to

There are several good articles giving the history of the Computing
Center and MTS available on the Web:

Two articles giving the history of the Merit Computer Network are
available on the Web as well. See:

I encourage you to print a correction in a future issue of Michigan Today.


Jeff Ogden
former Sr. Associate Director, Computing Center
former Associate Director, Merit Network
IT Manager, Michigan Center for Biological Information (MCBI)

John Woodford's reply:

Date: Tue, 05 Oct 2004 10:43:24 -0400
From: John Woodford
To: Jeff Ogden
Subject: Re: Engineering's 150 Years, MTS, and Merit

Will do. This is the second such correction.