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Phase 1 of the Interactive Computing Facility was aimed at making some immediate improvements to the interactive facilities available to university engineers. It was estimated that 900 SRC-funded research engineers needed access to interactive facilities and the existing provision supported around 350. Increased provision was to be accomplished by four main activities:
- Upgrade DEC10s at UMIST and Edinburgh
- The two DEC10s were local facilities that had demonstrated the ability to run a multi-user interactive service. Upgrading them and making them available to a wider community would increase the number of users supported to 400 in total.
- Enhance Existing University Mini Computers
- Some university Engineering Departments had small mini computers acting as single user systems. By enhancing some of these it would be possible to turn them into multi-user systems. The aim was to enhance 5 systems to where they could support 250 engineers in total.
- Chilton Central System
- A large system capable of handling 60 interactive users simultaneously was to be installed at the Rutherford Laboratory. It was estimated that this would support a user base of around 600 in total.
- Development Multi-User Mini Systems
- Two multi-user mini systems capable of handling 6 users simultaneously should be purchased for development purposes with the aim, in Phase 2, of deploying similar systems in university departments. The estimate was that the 900 engineers requiring support would rise to 1300 and their needs would increase significantly over the next five years. Phase 2 was aimed at addressing this issue.