(j3.2006) Question about DIM

Keith Bierman khbkhb
Tue Jan 12 18:58:48 EST 2016

Thanks for all making me feel young.

I didn't get my start until the the early '70s. First sending cards back
and forth (1 or 2 runs a week) from school (some form of IBM 360; we didn't
get access to the machine or JCL, just Fortran card decks, mostly punched
with paper clips) then the Univac 1108 (or a device pretending to be it) by
virtue of my father working at JPL (and his Manager required him to use up
his computer budget before the end of year, and he was no where close. So I
spent Sundays splitting my time between a genetic simulation (class project
... wasn't designed for computer simulation, so I did a few hundred
generations rather than the 4 or 5 expected) and playing early video games
("space wars" on a Tektronics vector display).

That was still primarily card based, because if I read the cards in, used
only the "dayfile" and punched the results out, the storage costs were nil
(vs. keeping the files on "fastrand" files, .... and the operators were
slow to mount tapes on Sundays). But at least I didn't need paper clips,
nor did I have to edit the cards in the punch unit....

On the downside, working on Sundays meant I sometimes had to "boot" the RJE
substation, which involved toggling in the boot loader by hand. I recall
the ocal program listing was somewhat yellowed and it often took me more
than one try to get the bloody thing to boot!

Only Van is likely to appreciate my discovery of the "Athena" Fortran
compiler, which offered a lot of features beyond the standard. I don't
recall (but have the manual somewhere) precisely what the benefits where
(better control structures, a multi-line statement function facility).

Years later when working at the Lab I recall running into an ugly issue
with the TFOR namelist handling and had to look up the author (who had
retired from the Lab to be a freelance astrologer to the stars (and Nancy
Regan)). I'd stumbled across an internal error in namelist handling ....
which started my long road to ruining compilation systems by finding flaws

Keith Bierman
khbkhb at gmail.com
kbiermank AIM
303 997 2749

On Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 4:03 PM, Dick Hendrickson <dick.hendrickson at att.net>

> I'm pretty sure I started in the spring/summer of 1962.  Used a Control
> Data 160 desktop computer (actually, it was the whole desk.)  It had 4096
> words of 12 bit memory and a 6.4 Microsecond cycle time.  I started in
> assembly language, but within the year CDC came out with a Fortran
> compiler.  A three pass compiler (it fit on 3 rolls of paper tape) and it
> used paper tape to pass intermediate results from pass to pass.  It was
> small, but people did real physics on it
> Dick Hendrickson
> On Tue, Jan 12, 2016 at 3:42 PM, Van Snyder <Van.Snyder at jpl.nasa.gov>
> wrote:
>> On Tue, 2016-01-12 at 14:35 +0000, Bill Long wrote:
>> >
>> > > I wrote my first Fortran program for a DEC PDP-8s in the summer of
>> > 1967.  I
>> >
>> > Mine was an IBM 1130 in the summer of 1968. (NSF Summer Science
>> > program for high school students. I wonder of they still have that.)
>> Mine was in the fall of 1963 on the IBM 1620.  While JPL was expanding
>> for the Ranger and Surveyor projects, there was a time when several
>> temporary house-trailer offices were outside the fence.  My brother was
>> working in one of them, developing schedules for projects to use the
>> Deep Space Net.  One of his colleagues would sign up for time at 11:00
>> PM, and then call me and say "I'm not going to use it."  I'd park my
>> motorcycle under the trailer and use the 1620 for an hour or so.  That
>> lasted for about six weeks.  Then I started stealing 1620 time at Cal
>> State LA.  Admittedly, that was FORTRAN II.  I didn't start using
>> FORTRAN IV until late 1964 or early 1965, on the 7094 at Caltech.
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