Chronology - 1980s: A Decade of Expansion


DEC, which was a founding corporate partner of the new ICR, announced a $65 million dollar partnership with ICR. Of the funds offered $40 million was designated for research, personnel, and office space. Most of this money came from the Government of Ontario. The remaining $25 million came from DEC and took the form of hardware, including fifteen VAX systems and 2,000 PCs. The research agreement was to last from 1984 to 1987. The partnership was known as the WATDEC deal. As part of the agreement DEC also gave UW several hundred portable computers, so that the university could begin work on the ARIES network in 1986. About 300 portable computers were distributed to UW students starting in 1985.

UW Special Collection. GA 133-1321. Wes Graham Fonds. Series 4.2: Post-1973 UW Files. Institute for Computer Research-University of Waterloo. Proposal to Digital Equipment Corporation for a Joint Research Program in Open Computing Using Fourth Generation Systems, February 1, 1984. See also (Ponzo 62).

Oxford University Press announced that the University of Waterloo will play a major role in computerizing the Oxford English Dictionary. The project became a joint effort of the English and History Faculties and CSD. The humanities students did research and the computer students worked to create an advanced database for the project.

Hewlett-Packard decided not to build on the North Campus.

This in 1984 commemorates the sale of WATSOFT Products, by UW, to WATCOM
This in 1984 commemorates the sale of WATSOFT Products, by UW, to WATCOM. After the purchase of WATSOFT, the fortunes of WATCOM developed an international market. A little over ten years later, the company was acquired by the US-based firm Powersoft for $48 million. A year later Powersoft was purchased by Sybase of California, the world's sixth largest computer software company.

The William G. Davis Centre for Computer Research was under construction.

ICR is re-organized to accommodate individual researchers and members of eleven federated groups (Ponzo 61).

IBM developed new network technology and UW kept pace with a new version of JANET (Ponzo 92).

IBM donated thirty-five PCs for use in Earth Sciences and Biology (Ponzo 92).

In 1984 CSG developed the Waterloo PC Network which was a network consisting of microcomputers, minicomputers and/or mainframes. This network was developed to create an effective teaching environment using microcomputers and resulted in a donation of over $7.5 million in equipment from IBM to UW (Cowan, Graham, Mackie et al. 30).

A UW student uses a portable computer in Project ARIES. UW Special Collection/Don Cowan.

Mike Lazaridis, a UW student, set out to begin a remarkable career in applied research, ultimately forming what became known as Research In Motion (RIM). The company eventually became one of Canada's most successful start-up companies, generating millions in sales by the 2007.

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