Home >  Archive >  History >   Timeline

The 1980s

< Previous | Next >


Graduate Program in Computer and Information Science Created

Stephen Garland in the classroom

The College began a graduate program in Computer and Information Science with concentration in Managerial and Decision-making Applications.

Pew Grant Funded Online Library Catalog

Baker Library card catalog

A grant from the Pew Foundation funded a project to "develop and implement an online catalog system" for the Dartmouth libraries. See Dartmouth College Library.

Top of page


Computer Researched Regional Health-care System

Kiewit Store, Rhonda Fournier, clerk

The Department of Community and Family Medicine installed a DEC 2020 computer for research on the state of New England's health-care system. The new computer was connected to the Dartmouth network to allow other universities access to the data. John Wennberg directed the project.

Experimental Catalog Online

Inauguration of David McLaughlin, John G. Kemeny

Dartmouth College libraries developed an experimental online catalog by accessing and cataloging information stored in the BRS (Bibliographic Retrieval Services) computer in Scotia, New York. According to a Library spokesperson, "There are no plans to replace the current card catalog, which contains cards on the entire Dartmouth Library Collection of more than one million volumes." See Dartmouth College Library.

Stibitz Reflected on Pathbreaking Experiment

George Stibitz

George Stibitz

George Stibitz was interviewed in depth on the 40th anniversary of his experiments on remote access to a digital computer over telephone wires. (Kiewit Comments, 1981)

Top of page


New Protocol for Data Transfers

Anne Huggins, Regional Affairs

The College began implementation of X.25 international protocols for network data transmission at Dartmouth.

Devices Allowed DTSS Access

Kiewit Business Office,
Merylene Morse, bookkeeper

New England Digital (NED) computers were installed in Kiewit and Nathan Smith and Wilder halls to provide direct access to the time-sharing network. Extra hardware and special software designed by Computing Services engineers made it possible to provide dedicated direct access to the DTSS network at 2,400 baud to 40 simultaneous users in each building.

Survey: 93 Percent of Students Used Computers

Fall orientation, Kiewit lobby

Use of a computer at Dartmouth was surveyed again. Faculty and students report that:

  • Thirty-four percent of the faculty used a computer in a course.
  • Fifty-six percent of the faculty used a computer for research.
  • Fifty-six percent of the faculty members had written a computer program (are "computer literate").
  • Twenty-six percent of the faulty used a computer for "word processing."
  • Ninety-three percent of the students surveyed used a computer at Dartmouth.
  • Eighty-six percent of the freshman class used a computer.
  • Eighty-three percent of all the students had written a computer program.
  • Eighty-nine percent of the students used a program library on DTSS.
  • Twenty-six percent of the students used a computer for "word processing."

New E-mail System Developed

Fall orientation, Kiewit Public Terminal Room

Eric Leventhal '83 developed a new mail system to replace all existing and competing systems with "the best features of both" existing systems.

New Protocols Linked Diverse Computers

Fall orientation: Kiewit Public Terminal
Room Students Assistants' desk

New protocols for connecting to diverse mainframe computers on the Dartmouth network were announced. Users were able to connect to DCTS1 ("c D1"); DCTS2 ("c D2"); the PRIME ("c P1"); and the Library computer ("c L").

Second Pew Grant for Online Catalog

Kiewit Computation Center

A second Pew Foundation grant was received to continue development of an online Library catalog.

Kiewit Urged to Support PCs

Fall orientation, Kiewit Public Terminal Room, William Y. Arms (standing)

The Task Force on Computing recommended that Computing Services develop "expertise, support services, and network capabilities with regard to a selected range of personal computers." Citing the reasons for this new emphasis, the Task Force suggested that "within five years, faculty and students will arrive with their own minicomputers," and will expect "an environment supportive of personal computing."

Top of page


Kiewit Began PC Support

Kiewit student bullpen (downstairs), systems programmers

Computing Services began providing support for personal computers, starting with "full support of the IBM Personal Computer." Support is defined as coordination of purchasing; training and consulting services; file transfer, terminal-emulation capabilities, and network access; and maintaining computer-based bulletin boards for the exchange of information.

VAX Systems Installed

William Y. Arms, Director of Computing Services

"VAX Clamantis in Deserto!" Digital Equipment Corporation computers of the VAX family were installed in Kiewit to provide both VMS and UNIX operating systems support to the community. Two UNIX machines, running the operating system developed at Bell Labs and refined at Berkeley, supported the Online Library catalog functions, as well as computer science and engineering applications.

DCTS Upgraded

John Largent, Physics Department

Computing Services added a second processor to DCTS2 to relieve congestion on the time-sharing systems.

Tuck Bought 50 IBM PCs

1984 freshman Macintosh distribution

Tuck School ordered 50 IBM personal computers for its central terminal cluster in Bosworth. The Kiewit Computer Store was stocked with IBM personal computers for resale to faculty, staff, and students.

Eighth Edition of BASIC

Nancy Broadhead, President David McLaughlin

The eighth edition of the BASIC language was announced in the fall of 1983. A complete history of the language was presented in the fall 1983 issue of Kiewit Comments (Volume 17, Number 1).

Sixteen Buildings Connected to Mainframes

Kiewit Public Terminal Room

A "Snapshot of the Kiewit Network" showed that 16 buildings on campus and 4 remote schools (the Coast Guard Academy, the Merchant Marine Academy, Ursinus, and the Marine Training Center at Quantico) were connected to the network of eight major mainframe computers.

Top of page


New Program Integrated IT in Medical School

Kiewit Public Terminal Room

The Dartmouth Medical School, in response to a recommendation to develop more appropriate evaluation technologies, established its "Program in Medical Information Science." The program's goal was "the integration of computer and information technology throughout the medical curriculum, to support current departmental offerings and the development of programs for computer literacy among medical students and physicians."

Apple Macintosh Recommended to Students

Kiewit Public Terminal Room,
Peter Merchant, student assistant

The new Apple Macintosh was the preferred student personal computer, allowing the Trustees to approve the inclusion of the $1,250 cost of the computer package in the formula for financial aid. Resulting costs were expected to be about $135 per term. Students paid for the repair and maintenance of their computer, except when the cost "exceeded $25 in one term. The College paid for all cost of repairs in excess of $25. Printers could be purchased at an additional cost of $475."

True BASIC for the Macintosh

John G. Kemeny (left), Thomas E. Kurtz (middle)

True BASIC, Incorporated, a commercial entity founded by Kemeny and Kurtz, announced that True BASIC for the Macintosh would be available in the fall of 1984. A preliminary version of True BASIC for the IBM personal computer would be available in June, with the final version ready for distribution in the fall.

Donations for Macintosh Software Development

Freshman Open House, Kiewit (September)

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Apple Computer contributed $250,000 each to the College for the development of course materials and educational software for the Macintosh.

Progress Reported on Terminal Emulator

Terminals: Decwriter and Zenith (Bradley Court)

Computing Services detailed progress on the development of DarTerminal, a terminal-emulation and file-transfer program for the Macintosh.

Wiring Project Began

Kiewit Computation Center

The Computing Services' Telecommunications group began a wiring project that would connect each student's workspace in residence halls directly to the Kiewit network. Over 2,600 ports were installed in more than 30 buildings. The project was completed by Thanksgiving.

Gift Extended the Kiewit Network

Kiewit Public Terminal Room

The Pew Memorial Trust contributed $500,000 to the College to finance the extension of the Kiewit Network to all dormitory rooms during the first half of 1984.

Online Catalog Available on Network

Emily Fayen, Online Catalog
prototype demonstrated

The Dartmouth Online Catalog was available over the Kiewit network on an experimental basis. Almost half of the libraries' holdings were added to the electronic catalog that could be accessed by typing c lib on any terminal connected to the Kiewit network. The catalog was available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at no cost to the user. The project was funded by the Pew Memorial Trust.

New Leaders at Kiewit

Telecommunications/Repair Shop, Raymond K. Neff (left),
William Y. Arms

Raymond K. Neff '64 was named director of Computing Services, and William Y. Arms was designated vice provost for computing and planning. Neff was previously the director of Academic Computing at Dartmouth with a joint appointment in Community and Family Medicine and the Computer Science Departments.

Last Edition of Kiewit Comments

Kiewit Machine Room, David
Heller (seated), William Taylor

The last edition of Kiewit Comments was published in the spring of 1984.

Online Mail Directory Launched

Printer output (near Kiewit Machine
Room), Nora Wijn

The online Dartmouth Mail Directory made it possible to send e-mail to anyone on campus.

Top of page


Kiewit Store Moved to McNutt

The Computer Store in Kiewit

The Kiewit Computer Store moved to One McNutt Hall and became the Personal Computing Center. A retail store and consulting and demonstration area were featured.

Ph.D. Program in Computer Science OK'd

Printing labels on a Decwriter

The Dartmouth Trustees approved the creation of a Ph.D. program in Computer Science. The program admitted its first students the following year.

Top of page


Dante Analysis Online

KDEM Dante Project

Six hundred years of analysis of Dante's Divine Comedy became available through an online database. Professor of Comparative Literature Stephen Nichols and Director of Academic Computing Raymond Neff developed a searching program that stored and retrieved key words using detailed line references and displayed them in split-screen format all the text commentaries ever written on Dante's Divine Comedy.

Cork Database Available Nationally

William M. Taylor (left),
William Y. Arms

Cork-On-Line, containing more than 9,000 listings of alcohol-related writings taken from more than 500 publications in the biological and social sciences, became available to medical centers, universities, and public libraries in the U.S. and abroad.

Ph.D. Program Established

(From left) John Stuart, Bernie Nielson, Noel Ricker, Alexander Montgomery (in back), Kiewit Machine Room

A Ph.D. program in Computer Science was established within the Mathematics and Computer Science Department. See Dartmouth Computer Science.

Grateful Dead Index Available

DPS-8, Kiewit Machine Room

Dartmouth programmer John Scott created DEADBASE, a computer compiled cross-reference to all 1,623 Grateful Dead concerts between 1965 and 1986.

Application Assisted Football Team

James Perry, software developer

The Dartmouth football team used an IBM PC program designed by Curt Bury '53 to keep statistics, analyze play selections, and prepare game strategies based on past performances.

Kiewit Comments Returned

Richard E. Brown

The Computing Services newsletter, Kiewit Comments, came back to life with Volume 18, Number 1 in the fall of 1986.

New Leaders for Kiewit

One of the first Macintoshes

James F. Poage, newly appointed vice provost for computing, succeeded William Y. Arms, who was appointed vice president at the Carnegie-Mellon University. Poage came to Dartmouth after 16 years at Princeton University, holding a masters degree from Cal Tech and a doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Princeton. Raymond Neff left to become the assistant vice chancellor for computing at Berkeley.

Seven Hundred Macs Distributed to Class of '90

1985 freshman Macintosh distribution

On September 21, more than 250 Apple Corps volunteers handed out 700 Macintosh computers to the Dartmouth Class of 1990.

New Resources on the Network

Professor Brenda Silver

Computing Services announced special network services that enabled anyone on the network to connect directly to computerized services using the Network menu on DarTerminal. Examples were the Library, the Kiewit suggestion box, Help files about computing resources, a public calendar of events, a bulletin board of available jobs, a bulletin board of leave-term jobs off campus, and a listing of grants and academic competitions available to undergraduates.

Top of page


New VAX Box Installed

1984 freshman Macintosh distribution, Phil Hobbie, (middle), student

A powerful VAX 8500 computer was purchased and clustered with other existing VMS machines. Tests showed that the new cluster machines process jobs three to five times faster than the former configuration of independent machines.

File-transfer Application Unveiled

Left to right: The Avatar, Lisa, Macintosh

A file-transfer program named Kermit made its debut. It was used on IBM or Macintosh personal computers to transfer files from one personal computer to another (or a host), enabling the personal computer to emulate a VT100 terminal.

Hood Began Multimedia Project

Bonfire planning; power for Christmas tree lights

The Hood Museum purchased Argus software from Questor Systems and began a multimedia computerization project, creating a microfiche set-up so that object images could be viewed as records are read. As one of the earliest art museum users of this program, the Hood had a lot of input into the development of the fielding and structure for the database for the art world.

Mini-supercomputer Installed

First Macintoshes in residence halls

A CONVEX mini-supercomputer was installed in Kiewit, running Berkeley's UNIX 4.2 operating system. The machine was used in Thayer School professor William Hibler III's study of ice-ocean dynamics. The Office of Naval Research funded the mini-supercomputer, but half of its capacity was available for other research users at Dartmouth.

PUBLIC File Server, Printer Server Launched

One of the first Macintoshes at Dartmouth: Raymond Neff,
Director of User Services

The PUBLIC file server and the Laser Printer server made their debut. The PUBLIC file server contained Dartmouth courseware, public domain software, freeware, shareware, demonstration applications, Apple System software, and "any software we could legally make available." The Print Server enabled users to "spool" their print jobs through the server, releasing the Macintosh to resume normal processing.

Online Library Catalog Improved

Public Macintosh cluster

The Library Online Catalog got a new look and ran on a larger machine (VAX 11/785). More users could use the system simultaneously, and 850,000 books and 30,000 serials were cataloged.

Synclavier Available in Bregman

Kiewit Consultants' Office,
Heather Lacasse, student

At Dartmouth's Bregman Electronic Music Studio, the state-of-the art Synclavier Digital Music System, manufactured by the New England Digital Corporation, became accessible to classes of as many as 16 simultaneous users. The Synclavier's ability to store, record, reproduce, and synthesize any imaginable sounds and manipulate them instantly at the touch of a button made it one of the most powerful music and psycho-acoustic teaching tools in existence. See Synclavier.

HyperCard Applications Developed

Programming workstation

Under a contract to explore course work applications of Apple Computer's HyperCard authoring tool, the Dartmouth Hyperteam prepared nine programs: a videodisc-linked program that allowed easy organization and presentation of art slides, an animated program of molecular genetics techniques, a medical records program that included the sound of the patient's heart, and an astronomy textbook with animated models of celestial motion theories. HyperCard allowed extensive cross-indexing of information and an easy means of linking other technologies to the program.

New Library Acquisitions System

Baker Library

Baker Library

A new automated acquisitions system was implemented for the libraries using Innovative Interfaces products.

Top of page


Internet Connection Went Live

Thayer School CAD/CAM Lab

The Internet came to Dartmouth. Thanks to NSF support, Dartmouth researchers could now access the John von Neumann Center Supercomputer at Princeton over JVNCNet. Once on that network, users had access to over 20,000 computers from all over the world. Services available included e-mail, high-speed file transfer, and logon to remote computers — all at a transmission rate of 56KB!

Some Circulation Systems Automated


The libraries automated circulation using the Sirsi system, and serials control using software from Innovative Interfaces.

Macintosh Virus Spurred Prophylaxis

Dartmouth classroom,
Professor Donald Kreider

A computer virus named Scores was found on Macintosh computers at Dartmouth. Virus Rx was provided on the PUBLIC file server to fix it.

DCIS Project Announced

Public Macintosh cluster in Kiewit basement

The Dartmouth College Information System (DCIS) project, a joint venture by the Library and Computing Services, was announced to turn the personal computer into a "powerful gateway to a variety of network services geared toward scholarly tasks and campus life."

BlitzMail Announced

Public Macintosh cluster in Kiewit basement

Macintosh Mail for the fall term, or BlitzMail, was announced. It featured Macintosh interfaces, icons, mail forwarding, return receipts, enclosures, etc.


Thayer Graphics Lab Opened

Numerical Methods Laboratory

Thayer School opened the Numerical Methods Laboratory (NIL) as a workspace for computer-generated graphics and animations used in the presentation of research results. (Thayer Directions, Fall 1995)

Libraries Automated Circulation

Baker Library

The Libraries automated circulation in September 1988.

Kiewit Grant for Nebraska Project

Kiewit Computer Store
in basement of McNutt Hall

The Dartmouth-Nebraska Project: Kiewit Foundation Grant.

Encyclopedia Became Available On Line

1986 freshmen Macintosh distribution,
student in residence hall

Grolier's Academic American Encyclopedia became available on line on the Library computer.

Top of page


Oracle Databases Became the Standard

Kiewit Machine Room

The ORACLE database came to Dartmouth and became the standard for all on-campus database applications.

Internet Provided Direct Supercomputer Link

1986 Freshmen Macintosh distribution,
PCs stored off campus

The Internet provided a direct connection for Dartmouth researchers to the CYBER 205 and ETA10 supercomputers at the John Von Neumann Center at Princeton. The ETA10 could process 10 billion floating-point operations per second.

BlitzMail Went Live

Public computer cluster in Kiewit

BlitzMail becomes official on May 18.

Campus Email for Everyone: Making It Work in Real Life (pdf)

New Databases Added to DCIS

Personal Computer Center,
McNutt Hall

Playbill, Thespis, and G Major databases were added to the Library's Online Catalog. Using the capabilities of the Library's database retrieval software, users were able to access the College's remarkable collection of playbills, programs, words, music to show tunes, information on newspaper clippings, photographs, costumes, theater architecture, etc. G Major enabled the user to browse through two centuries of sheet music by artists as different as Gershwin and Bob Dylan.

DHMC Connected to Dartmouth Network

Public Macintosh computer cluster in Kiewit

The Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center was connected to the Dartmouth network and had full access to e-mail, file transfer, and all Dartmouth network services.

Worm Attempted to Invade

Disks for DI 451 or DI 191,
Kiewit Machine Room

An electronic worm attempted unsuccessfully to invade Dartmouth over SPAN (NASA's Space Physics Analysis Network). Dartmouth gave effective prescriptions to Macintosh owners for fighting two new Macintosh viruses that had appeared on campus.

Dartmouth Linked to New Networks

Old Vax 750, Kiewit Machine Room

Dartmouth became a member of several national networks: BITNET, CSNet (Computer Science Network), JvNCNet (John von Neumann Network at Princeton), SPAN (NASA's Space Physics Analysis Network), GTE's TELENET, UseNet (a UNIX network), and RLIN (the Research Libraries Network).

DHMC Won Apple Grant

Kiewit minicourse, Webster Hall

The Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center received a $220,000 grant from Apple Computer, Inc. to expand "the Program of Medical Information Science," and to continue the development of databases and instructional tools such as the Interactive Medical Record (IMR) and the Informed Patient Decision-making Procedure (IPDP).

Project Northstar Announced Access

Northstar machines, Linda Salzhauer

Project Northstar announced access to the Nationwide File System (NFS) that enabled Dartmouth users to access files at Carnegie-Mellon, MIT, and the University of Michigan over Northstar workstations.

Medical Information Science Department Moved to Clement

Freshmen Macintosh distribution, Webster Hall

The Medical Information Science department moved out of the Kiewit Computation Center to new offices on the second floor of Clement Hall.

Systems Programmers Reunion

Reception for Kemeny

Homecoming at Kiewit: On October 13, 18 former systems programmers and professional staff members of Kiewit returned to hear John G. Kemeny speak on "Dartmouth Remembrances," and to celebrate the twenty-fifth Anniversary of Time Sharing and BASIC. Seeds were planted for Alumni Systems Programmers organization.

Top of page

< Previous | Next >