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29 May 2014

Project MAC 50th Anniversary and Multics Reunion

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Tom Van Vleck

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of MIT Project MAC, now known as the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), was held at MIT's Stata Center in Cambridge, Mass, on May 28 and 29, 2014.

The MAC celebration began in the Stata Center's Kirsch auditorium. There were slide presentations for a day and a half. The talks I liked best were historical reminiscences by Ivan Sutherland and Bob Metcalfe. A banquet for attendees on May 28th honored Professor Fano, the founding director of Project MAC.

CSAIL created a web site with information about the celebration before the event. They plan to update this site with photographs taken by an MIT photographer. QuickTime video of all presentations is available on the CSAIL site. new (This is not streaming video: a big .mp4 file is downloaded for each presentation. Wait.)

Daniel Dern wrote a nice article on the reunion for the Boston Globe's web site, and Tom Van Vleck wrote a short piece for the Events and Sightings column of the Annals of the History of Computing, Vol. 36, No. 4: Oct-Dec 2014, pp. 3-5.

The LCS 25th anniversary celebration was held in 1988. The LCS 35th anniversary celebration was held in 1998. A Multics Reunion was held in the Stata Center in 2004.

Pictures from the MAC 50th Anniversary Celebration

Here are a few pictures of the MAC celebration taken by Bill Southworth and me; I wish we'd taken more. (MIT also had a photographer taking pictures: his photos are at the CSAIL gallery site new .) Click for a larger view.

Others were also taking photos, and there is room for more photos or for links to other pages.


Multicians Group photo. Jason Dorfman CSAIL/MIT, CC license.

Multics Reunion

On May 29th, after the MAC anniversary celebration, many Multicians assembled in a Stata Center lecture hall to celebrate Multics. Paul Green did a fantastic job as the reunion organizer. This was the agenda:

Daniela Rus, Howard ShrobeWelcoming Remarks
Peter NeumannIntroduction Multics-inspired CHERI system
Fernando Corbató"Early Days, Project MAC, CTSS, and Multics"Slides from the talk
Andre DeHon"SAFE: A New Foundation for Computer Safety and Security" CRASH and SAFE
Michael Pandolfo"Multics, The First 50 Years"Slides from the talk
John Gintell, Fernando Corbató,
 Jerry Saltzer, Peter Neumann,
 Bob Freiburghouse
Panel Discussion and Audience Questions

QuickTime video of the presentations is available on the CSAIL Multics Reunion site. new (This is not streaming video: a big .mp4 file is downloaded for each presentation. Wait.)

Michael Pandolfo's talk proposed several initiatives for celebrating the 50th anniversary of Multics next year. A pointer to the slides from his talk is given above. Michael has also created a web site with more detail on the progress of the initiatives.

Pictures from the Multics Reunion

Click for a larger view.

We had planned to set up a YouTube channel named Multicians for people to record video greetings, but have so far only arranged one video, from Gary Dixon. We can add more later.


People I saw there: