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15 Oct 1988

Project MAC 25th Anniversary

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Tom Van Vleck

The MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (which began life as MIT Project MAC) had a 25th anniversary celebration in Cambridge, Mass in October, 1988. These are my notes.

Party at Mullens'

Bob and Alice Mullen had a party before the event, attended by Melanie & Jim Weaver, André Bensoussan, Ron Webber & wife, Jerry & Ellie Stern, Bernie Greenberg, John Gintell & Robert Coren, Rich Kovalcik & wife, and Ed & Maggie Sharpe. We drank the traditional stone fences and raised the Multicians' Toast: "to absent friends."

MAC Symposium

The MAC symposium had 2 receptions, 2 days of talks in Kresge Auditorium with lunch in the student center, and a sit-down dinner for 1000 at the Statler, by then called the Park Plaza. At the dinner, Mike Dertouzos gave awards to the real pioneers, like John McCarthy, Corby, Lick, Minsky, Doug Ross and John Ward. John Updike gave a speech (2 cultures stuff).

The talks in Kresge were mostly by junior faculty about what they were working on. Many talks spent 75% of their time defining terms and 25% on current activities. Best talk: Silvio Micali on zero-knowledge protocols.

The celebration was such a success that LCS had a 35th Anniversary Celebration 11 years later.

People

Seeing old friends was the best part. I have a bunch of photographs from the event, which I will convert and put online when I have time.

MAC/MIT:

Multics

In addition, Bob Mullen and I ran into Gene Wiatrowski in the Coop.

Changes

Kendall Square was unrecognizable. It looked like downtown Chicago. The F&T was gone, replaced by a subway entrance & a vacant lot. The whole east side of campus was all different; I got lost. MIT had taken over a bunch of buildings & built new ones where the Carr Fastener Co used to be. Building 39 had become a VLSI center. And Multics was shut down.

I was prepared for Harvard Square to be all different too, but the changes were less dramatic. Downtown Boston, also some changes but wasn't totally different. A new hotel & shopping complex, some demolition, etc. But Durgin-Park was still there & some of the same waitresses who served me 27 years ago.