In other articles I have commented that in the 70s our Neuroscience department had a CID-201-B minicomputer compatible with the PDP-8 of the DEC company and that the CID-201-B had only a typewriter teletype, a perforated paper tape reader, and a paper tape printer.

In order to use this equipment, after developing and fine-tuning each program, it was necessary to "punch" the tapes with the data, or, for example, use the CONCATISO program (see article) to convert the 5-channel tapes from the computer CAT to 8-channel ASCII format tapes could be read by the CID-201-B programs.

The paper tapes were splitting, they had to be repaired by hand. Punching errors had to be repaired by hand as well, covering or opening holes in the paper, or inserting an intermediate piece. To do all this, it was necessary to know and identify all the binary meaning of each ASCII character, which are 127 numbers with parity bits, 8 bits.

To run a program you had to introduce the tape of the "first part", the compiler, then introduce the tape of the program as such, start compiling it, then introduce the "second part" or executor, and finally the tape or tapes with the data to be processed. Sometimes the program not only wrote results on the typewriter like a printer, but also printed perforated tapes for later runs, which was necessary since we had programs that ran in 24, 48, 72, and more hours of calculation and therefore having to restart a process already started or being able to do it on several computers at the same time, as if they were processes in parallel.

And who did all this work in the 70s? Well, the computer operators, those who were responsible for all the processes involved in running our programs.

So, as a programmer, I fondly remember the countless hours I spent with our operators developing programs and they then running them to obtain the results that placed Neurosciences in a prominent place in any scientific conference where we participated.

One is called Felipe, a serious and industrious young man, another is called Lidis, a pleasant and hard-working woman, and the third is Ródulo, who later studied and became an engineer.

Of the three I have very fond memories.

Thank you very much to all three for contributing so much to my development.

Octavio Báez Hidalgo.

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No thoughts on “My fellow operators.”

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