The Edinburgh Multi-Access System (EMAS) was used on the ICL 2960 at the University of Kent from 1979 until the hardware was retired in 1986. This lecture will cover trials, tribulations and some interesting technical details - with a sting in the tail!

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The Edinburgh Multi-Access System (EMAS) project started in 1966, and resulted in a real service to users from 1971, running on an ICL System 4/75. In 1976, work started on porting this to the ICL 2900 series, and a service was offered from October 1978. The University of Kent took up the system due to the unreliability of the ICL software (can you say "Horizon"?), and offered a service from late 1979.

A further port was made to IBM and IBM clone systems, with the final service being closed in 1992. EMAS was very efficient and reliable (arguably much more so than the manufacturer’s offerings). It was technically advanced in several ways, one example being the memory mapped file system.

The talk will cover the history of EMAS, and then look at some of the more interesting technical aspects of the system. It should be of interest to a wide audience, particularly those associated with the University of Kent, and also to students interested in operating systems. There will be a substantial segment on what happened at Kent.

About the speaker

Bob EagerBob Eager

Bob Eager graduated in Electronics from the University of Kent in 1973, followed by a Master’s in Computer Studies at the University of Essex. He was then invited back to Kent to do research in the area of operating systems portability, followed by appointment as a lecturer in 1978, He was rapidly seconded to help evaluate the Edinburgh Multi-Access System as a replacement for the unreliable VME/K system.

He oversaw it for the next eight years, with some challenging technical issues along the way. He subsequently managed the University's VAXcluster for six years before moving on. Throughout this time he was teaching, mainly operating systems and compiling techniques. He retired in 2015.

In retirement, he has indulged his interest in historical computing, particularly in the areas of simulators and replicas. One of his recent projects was the resurrection of the Cambridge TRIPOS system on the PDP-11, from incomplete and internally incompatible pieces of source code. His long suffering wife allows him to keep a lot of ‘junk’ (her words) in the house, a shed, and a large storage unit.

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Canterbury Christ Church University logoThis event is brought to you by: Kent branch

We would like to thank Canterbury Christ Church University, and particularly the EDGE Hub, for their support in putting on this event.

Hybrid: The Edinburgh Multi Access System (EMAS) at Kent
Date and time
Thursday 6 June, 6:00pm - 8:30pm
Canterbury Christ Church University
Verena Holmes Building
North Holmes Road
This event is sold out