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


J. Douglas Lawson replaced Pat Fischer as the Chairman of the department of Computer Science (in 1975 the name was changed from Applied Analysis and Computer Science during Pat Fishcer's tenure as Chair). The department was now one of UW's larger academic units, with five full professors, seven associate professors, fourteen assistant professors, five research assistant professors, four lecturers, a postdoctoral fellow, and two adjunct professors (Ponzo 54).

The WIDJET system was created in 1975. It had incorporated PDP— 11 with terminals that allowed students to input jobs and receive output without the need for paper tape or punched cards. The new system saved the university hundreds of thousands of dollars in paper costs in its first year of use.

The WIDJET system being accessed by UW students using Volker-Craig terminals.
The WIDJET system being accessed by UW students using Volker-Craig terminals. This photo is from 1975. Photo courtesy UW Special Collections/Don Cowan.

WATCOW, a portable computer system on wheels was created by the CSG. It consisted of a DEC PDP-11 processing unit, a printer and a card readers that read mark-sense cards and these units were mounted on a single cart about 30" on each side. Mark-sense cards were cards that could be marked with a pencil instead of the more traditional approach of punching holes. The computer was often taken to schools where the students could run programs on the spot (Ponzo 54). WATCOW was short for "Waterloo Computer on Wheels."

The WATFIV compiler received the Datapro Software Honour Roll Award of Merit for the first time. The program won the award again in 1976 and 1979 (Ponzo 89).

In 1975, ARCHIVER was written by Marion (Luke) Lewandowski, of the Computing Centre, as a program capable of archiving and de-archiving both sequential and partitioned data sets on magnetic tape. Facilities in ARCHIVER made the maintenance of archived, partitioned data sets much easier than other systems available at that time. (Cowan, Graham, Mackie 29).

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