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Supercomputer Centers

G. Christopher Anderson’s generally excellent article on upgrades of the NSF supercomputer centers (The Scientist, Aug. 7, 1989, page 1) contains some errors regarding the history of NSF centers in general, and of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) in particular, that I would like, for the record, to correct. Anderson says we “chose the DOE-standard CTSS operating system. . . in 1985. Unfortunately, most of the other centers chose UNICOS.” Both the SDSC and the Univer

Sidney Karin

G. Christopher Anderson’s generally excellent article on upgrades of the NSF supercomputer centers (The Scientist, Aug. 7, 1989, page 1) contains some errors regarding the history of NSF centers in general, and of the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) in particular, that I would like, for the record, to correct.

Anderson says we “chose the DOE-standard CTSS operating system. . . in 1985. Unfortunately, most of the other centers chose UNICOS.” Both the SDSC and the University of Illinois supercomputer centers began operations in 1985 with the sole interactive Cray operating system then available, CTSS. The only other NSF center to operate a Cray supercomputer, the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, began in late 1986 using COS—the original Cray operating system, which was a batch system and had no resemblance to Unix.

Illinois made the switch to UNICOS when they acquired a CRAY-2 in 1988. It was not until 1989 that...

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