Gary Luckenbaugh's Memories of Delta

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In late 1971 I met Ron Dozier at Alexis I. DuPont High School, and he told me about the computer room with the two ASR-33 teletypes connected to Project Delta. If not for Ron I may never have found Delta. Ron and I spent a lot of time doing Delta-related things together, such as going to the University on Friday nights and attending Dave Robinson's class. I remember working on a program with Ron called MATEDIT that was used to edit virtual arrays.

I got quite hooked on Delta, spending an enormous amount of time reading and writing BASIC-PLUS programs. I particularly enjoyed studying Clark Baker's programs. I always learned a lot from his code.

In the fall of 1972, Ron Dozier, Alex Wei, and I signed up for Dave Robinson's computer class for high school students. During this time I met Jodie Hobson and the famous George Robbins of "George's RSTS-11" fame. I learned to program in PDP-8 assembly language. I remember listening to Jethro Tull and Emerson, Lake & Palmer on the reel-to-reel tape deck that was in the rack with the PDP-8.

I spent the summer of 1973 converting HP BASIC programs to BASIC-PLUS for the Delta library. I was allowed to go to Delta one day a week, and spent the rest of the week at home converting the code with pencil and paper. I converted about 12 programs that summer, which was a record for all the students involved in that activity. I wanted to prove my worth to Teresa so that she would give me more access to Delta.

Around this time, when Delta was in Room 240 DuPont Hall, Ron D. and I were allowed to borrow an ASR-33 teletype and connect it to Delta via the pay phone and an acoustic coupler in the hallway. If my memory is right, I believe it was Linda Ruff who supervised our use of the teletype. We weren't allowed to be physically in the room with the computer, but we could use the teletype in the hallway. It was funny: on most nights, the pay phone would return the dime we used to make the call, even though the call lasted three to four hours.

In the fall of 1973, I took over responsibility for Alexis I's science programs from Clark Baker. These were programs written for use in Gary Dunkleberger's and Ruth Smith's science classes. They basically administered a pre-test before each chemistry lab, and then a post-test after the lab. As I recall, there were five programs, QUIZ, PEOPLE, ITEM, and two that I can't remember. QUIZ was the program the students ran; PEOPLE was used by the teachers to add, remove, and otherwise edit student records, and ITEM did statistical analysis. It was quite an honor to take over responsibility for code that Clark had written.

Starting sometime in 1973, Ron Dozier and I were allowed to work at Delta on Friday nights as long as either Clark or Ed were there. I spent most of my time making endless modifications to the A.I. programs at Dunkleberger's request. Sometime during this period (it may have been the 1974-1975 school year) Clark went to MIT and came back several times on holidays. He introduced me to LISP concepts in the form of a BASIC-PLUS program that did symbolic differentiation. This was one of the coolest programs I had ever seen at the time.

During the summer of 1974 I taught a BASIC-PLUS class for two middle school students (including Andy Cardinal). I also taught an adult ed. course at A.I. on programming BASIC.

In the 1974-1975 school year I was paid by Alexis I. to develop a set of programs to process a survey they were doing of all the parents and teachers in the A.I. school district. I was responsible not only for the code, but for running all the forms through the OPSCAN machine at Delta. Boy, what a chore that was. I remember one day I had boxes full of scan forms in the trunk of my car, and I parked in the parking lot at DuPont Hall. When I opened the trunk, a big gust of wind hit, and scan forms went flying all over the parking lot. I spent all afternoon chasing after those forms.

My very conservative parents allowed me to stay at the University on Friday nights until late at night (like around midnight) because they knew I was into geeky stuff and wouldn't get into trouble. This all came to an end when the streaking fad started. There was a big streaking event at the Deer Park and the police established a curfew. This freaked my parents, and there were no more late nights at the U of D for me (at least until I went to school there).

In 1975 I graduated from A.I. DuPont H.S., and started studying E.E. at the University of Delaware. It was at this time that I was offered a paying job with Delta and was given a [1,*] account. Teresa cautioned me not to spend too much time catering to Ruth Smith and Gary Dunkleberger because there were other, more pressing things to work on.

During the summer of 1975, I worked with Jon Taylor on a database program for use with the College of Education. It was an interesting program; not only did it implement a small relational database, it also used some crude artificial intelligence techniques to guide the user on how to make queries. The purpose of the program was to teach the concepts of databases to non-computer people.

Sometime around 1976 I was asked to work on developing a set of programs for Ed Boas in the College of Education. I was given this task because it was thought that the AI QUIZ program might fit the bill. As it turned out, there were some similarities, but not much code could be re-used. BASIC-PLUS with its lack of procedures, local variables, etc., made it impossible to re-use the code.

During this time (around 1976) Dan Grim and the other grad students were working on developing the concentrator for down state access. Dan was another person that I looked up to. Dan was the ultimate expert on everything related to RSTS, PDP-11s, PDP-8s, DecSystem 10s, and probably everything else related to computers and computing.

Sometime around 1976 Teresa and I went to Philadelphia to visit a company that had a bibliographic database. This database was updated weekly (I think) and contained publication information for a huge number of professional journals and other sources. Teresa asked me to write a BASIC-PLUS program that could scan this database by title, author, and subject, etc. The goal was to allow students to search and locate articles on a wide range of subjects. Dave Robinson told me about height-balanced AVL trees as a way to do this. Dan Grim was also responsible for overseeing my work. There was only one problem. One month's worth of updates amounted to about 40MB of data, and a single RP03 could only store 80MB. I never got very far with this project, and it was ultimately dropped.

Sometime around 1976/1977, Aron Insinga and I became the principal people maintaining and running the RSTS system. I believe Dan had received his Ph.D. and moved on to the computing center. I remember being responsible for upgrading to V06B, and all the turmoil it caused. The nice terminal handling features Dan et al. had put in were no longer available.

Also, in the summer of 1976 the EE department purchased a PDP-11/70 and started running Unix. This was my first exposure to Unix. I remember Dan wrote a BASIC-PLUS program that could read Unix file systems. I used this program and another program to generate a complete listing of all the Unix V6 sources to print on the Xerox printer in the computing center. The complete printout was an entire box of paper. I had that box for many years until I finally decided it was worthless. I kept the listing of the Kernel, however.

According to my recollection, the split between Teresa Green and Project Delta happened shortly before the summer of 1977. Aron and I were the only two people remaining from Teresa's era. Teresa encouraged both Aron and me to leave and join Dan at the computing center. Aron and I worked with Dan, and were there when the computing center opened its new building. I believe the last time I was paid by Delta was spring 1977, just before I went to the computing center. I was still attached to Delta though, and ended up spending a lot of time there my junior year (1977-1978) even though I was not paid. Ed Boas told me that Aron and I had really left them in the lurch when we quit, but that Walter Mahla and Dave Haislett had filled the void. I don't believe Aron ever went back.

I was one of the few people who experienced Project Delta both during and after Teresa's tenure. I was never a paid staff member after Teresa's tenure, but I did maintain friendships with many of the people who were involved afterwards. This included Ed Jones, Stan Cobb, Alan Flippen, Dave Haislett, Walter Mahla, Ron Dozier, Anne Dreizler, Tony Eros, Ernie Perez, and others. Some of these folks even visited me at the University of Maryland when I went to graduate school there.

In my senior year at Delaware (1978-1979) I got a job working for the EE department under the direction of Ed Szurkowski (a grad student) doing Unix system programming. At this time Delta had moved to the Education building, and I stopped spending much time there. I remember writing a tape archive program for Unix that I called "tar" which actually predated the "tar" of Unix V7. (My brother found a bunch of old tapes at the U. of D. in the late 1980s that were in the format that my "tar" program used.)

Also, during 1978-1979 I got a paying job from Teresa doing some consulting for Lincoln University. As I recall, I spent time teaching her people at Lincoln on the ins and outs of RSTS. I have fond memories of driving to Lincoln University listening to WSTW which had just changed from Easy Listening to Top 40. (For those that don't know, my other passion, besides computers, is radio broadcasting.)

In the summer of 1979, I went to the University of Maryland to study Computer Science in graduate school. My last visit to Project Delta was the winter break of 1980. I wrote a tiny-C like compiler in BASIC-PLUS for RSTS. My goal was to write a tiny-C that could be used to write RSTS run-time systems. I never finished the run-time system part, but did get it to successfully generate MACRO-11 programs that could be run under RT-11.

In 1984, I graduated from the University of Maryland, and started working at IBM Federal Systems and its successor companies, Loral and now Lockheed Martin. I've spent the last 14 years specializing in computer and network security. I was the architect of B2 Secure XENIX (a secure version of Unix targeted to the DoD market), and AIX B1/CMW (a secure version of IBM's AIX, again for the DoD market.) I also dabbled in OS/2 development for IBM, and was the security architect for IBM's Warp for PowerPC operating system that was ultimately canceled. I'm now involved in Lockheed Martin's IT consulting and services business, and focus on Internet security. Along the way I've received two patents, one for a trusted path mechanism in AIX, and another for a single sign-on product that I developed for Loral. I also have two patents pending related to a Java security product that I developed over the last several years.

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