Chronology - 1970s: The Evolution of The University of Waterloo Continues


In September of 1972, the Honeywell 6050 was installed in the Mathematics and Computer Building. Later in the year, a software tools package was developed for the computer by UW. The tools package became standard on all 6050-like machines (Ponzo 52).

The first IBM 370 computer arrived in 1972, its initial purpose was to run many of the student jobs being run at UW and thus relieve some of the strain being placed on the 360/75. The 370 was a model 145.

David Sprott retired after a successful tenure as the first Dean of Mathematics to be succeeded by William Forbes as Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics.

In 1969 and 1970, the WATBOL compiler was completed. The WATBOL compiler for the COBOL programming language had speed and error diagnostics similar to the WATFOR compilers for FORTRAN. The need for a usable COBOL-based complier was created by the Co-op program. In order to be successful in their work placements, UW students needed to understand business data processing systems and how to program using COBOL, but most COBOL compilers did not have the speed or error diagnostics to meet the needs of students and educators, so UW wrote their own compiler to satisfy the unique requirements of students, faculty, and Co-op employers.

Two years later, in 1972, Rod Milne and Ron Hurdal of UW's Computer Centre, wrote a final version of the WATBOL compiler. It allowed AA/CS to teach data processing, a necessary skill for students enrolled in the Co-op program. At this time, there were no other compilers available to support the educational use of COBOL. The compiler provided fast compilation, and excellent comprehensive error diagnostics. It also ran on the 360 and 370 family of computers and was known as WATBOL.

Distribution of the WATBOL was handled by CSG (Cowan, Graham, Mackie 28). Even in the early 1990s, hundreds of institutions were still using the program (Ponzo 89). UW Special Collection. GA 133-948. Wes Graham Fonds. Series 4.1: UW Files to 1973. M. Kilian, "1970 In Review," Computing Centre Newsletter. (January, Issue 1971-1, L. McCaul), 2.In 1972,

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The Computer Communications Network Group was established in 1972. The project was a joint venture between the Electrical Engineering Department and AA/CS. Eric Manning was the project director. Nominated by Wes Graham for their innovative work at UW, Paul Dirksen and Paul Cress received the Grace Murray Hopper Award for the development of the WATFOR 360 compiler. The Grace Murray Hopper Award is given to recognize important contributions to computing made by individuals under the age of thirty-five. Grace Murray Hopper was the creator of COBOL.

Eric Manning

Eric Manning. Private Collection.

In 1973 Wes Graham stepped down as the Director of the Computing Centre and the Deputy Director, Paul Dirksen, was appointed Director, ending the colloquial use of the title, "Deputy Dirk."

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