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AI Technology

50 Years Later, MIT Looks Back At AI and Networking Pioneer Project MAC 50

v3rgEz (125380) writes "Fifty years ago, a major project that ultimately seeded much of today's computer technology was created at MIT: Project MAC, and the Multics operating system initiative within the project. Daniel Dern interviews some of the key figures involved in the pioneering project, looking at how one laboratory helped spawn Ethernet, AI, and dozens of tech companies and other innovations that took ideas from the lab to the personal computer."
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50 Years Later, MIT Looks Back At AI and Networking Pioneer Project MAC

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  • by mbone ( 558574 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @01:23PM (#47100699)

    Unix is not Multics (thus the name) and that is really all you need to know about Multics (except that a generation of MIT hackers cut their teeth in figuring out how to hack it).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Oh GOSH it would be BLASPHEMY to QUESTION how OTHERS DO IT


      Multics implemented a single level store for data access, discarding the clear distinction between files (called segments in Multics) and process memory. The memory of a process consisted solely of segments which were mapped into its address space. To read or write to them, the process simply used normal CPU instructions, and the operating system took care of making sure that all the modifications were saved to disk. In POSIX terminology, it was a

    • by hcs_$reboot ( 1536101 ) on Tuesday May 27, 2014 @01:55PM (#47100985)

      Unix is not Multics and that is really all you need to know about Multics

      There are many interesting aspects about Multics that deserve to be heard about if not studied. To name a few: the second-dimension access system or protection rings [wikipedia.org] via "ring brackets" that allowed a 'r', 'w' or 'x' access to a "segment"/file depending on the caller (user or daemon) own "running ring". Thus, a lower (higher privilege) ring program would extend its r&|x access via brackets to allow a user to enter that program (a "gate"). For instance the continuums [multicians.org] (now forums) were usually running in ring 3, while a simple user was in 4 (the core system was in 0). Multics had also convenient and powerful ACL [multicians.org], accesses provided to user/group-project/login-mode. Using long names or short names for a file(segment)... Studying a bit of Multics helps to realize that most of OSes concepts were already invented ~50 years ago...

      • Once you've been in computers long enough you realize that every 20 years the cycle repeats. From VMs, Thin Client, Fat Client, UI redesigns, etc.

        The only thing that hasn't change is that Artificial Ignorance (A.I.) is still a complete and total joke.

  • My truename appears in the list of "Multicians". I still have my copy of The Design of the Multics Operating System.

    One of the things that Multics did better than anything since was a feature called dynamic linking. In Multics, linking to a DLL was done via a symbolic reference resolved at runtime, rather than a reference to an ordinal (as in Windows). The Multics file system allowed you to have multiple names on the same file. The combination of those two features resulted in the ability to hot-plug

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire