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Computing & Information Services Newsletter
 What Happened at Computer Center?

In these days of the year 2001, I wanted recall my personal remembrances about CC and wanted to write them down to keep a track of what has happened in the past years up until now. The first computer system of METU was set up in 1964. In the year 1965, IBM 1620 system and in the year 1969, IBM 360/40 and in 1974, IBM 360/145 systems were being used.

When I started work in 1975, the name of Computer Center was then "Elektronik Hesap Bilimleri Bölümü", which was a unit providing service under Computer Engineering Department.

Later on, the name of this unit altered to "Bilgisayar Merkezi", and today it provides service under the title of "Bilgi İşlem Daire Başkanlığı" ("Computer Center") as separate from the department of Computer Engineering.

In 1970s, as the computers were being, gradually, more widely used, Computer Center continuously strived to serve the user community with better means.

In 1975, there was a system library, a duplication office, and two administrative offices in the Floor B of Computer Center, all the other spaces were occupied by card punching machines. Today, computer punch cards are obsolete; however, in those times, punch cards were among the considerable profits of the paper industry.

In those days, there was a position available called "Delgi Operatörlüğü" (Punching Operator), which is obsolete today as well. This unit was answering the needs of the academic personnel in the place, where the office of the head of the department, the office of the secretary and the meeting room occupies today. The programs that were written down on papers were being submitted to this service. Later, the programs were being punched into these cards.

People were queueing in long lines in front of the section seperated from them by a window, where the system operators were working. Programs that were in packages of 2000 cards were being processed here with card reading machines.

Officially the service offered was not 24 hours; however, if the tasks were not completed, then the service would continue uninterruptedly. There was not devices such as uninterrupted power supply or electricity generator; therefore, many of the processes would be repeated, if the electricity went off, then the system would be rebooted. The units were breaking down because of the recurrent electricity breakdowns.

It was not possible to use the systems remotely, because there was no possibility of accesing from a remote place in any way. As time passed, terminals were set up in CC and access within the building was established. After IBM 360/145 systems, the other systems used in Computer Center were Burroughs B6930, A9F systems and IBM 3090 systems. IBM 3090 systems were brought from Holland with two trucks. We were thinking that it would be better to demand a crane, forklift or other kinds of lift equipment into CC. But one of the drivers of the trucks said; "There is no need to carry the systems with lift equipment. Just show us the place, and I'll move the devices there." The man carried the units on the truck to the system room in CC all by himself in a very short time with the units on the truck. It attracted great attention in those days to see big-sized and heavy units being carried by only one man. The IBM 3090 systems were occupying all the space in the system room of CC. Later on, UNIX systems were started to be used and the systems became as small as the size of a PC.

Computer Center has always assumed significant tasks for the good of the University. The affairs of the personnel and the students were carried out by card punches in 1970s. The cards that were loaded on human propelled cars in Personnel Office and Registrar's Offices, were being moved by human power in Computer Center. Today, there are 17 Unix systems in the system room of CC and the services of these systems are being offered to institutions as well as the University.

The system room is supported with two generators, two UPSs and three air conditioners. The systems are always up and running without interruption, except for the times when maintenance is necessary.

In 1979, the total number of personnel in CC was 24. Today, CC offers its services in a building with 4 floors and 17 PC Rooms. And the number of personnel is over 100.

The personnel profile CC has always been "young". Until the end of 80s, all of the personnel could meet in a small meeting room. Today, the same kind of meeting would require an amphi to bring all the people in.

Computer Center has been first-time realizer of some of the achievments in Turkey. The first indexer device was produced in here and the first Internet connection in Turkey was carried out by CC-TUBITAK colaboration.

I believe Computer Center will continue its mission as being the first-achiever of advancements, together with offering quality service to the University and other institutions.

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