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This section gives some information on the networking related to the mainframe computers at the Rutherford Laboratory.
From quite early on, dedicated lines had been used to provide some remote access to both the ICL 1906A and the IBM 360/75 computers. They tended to use proprietary remote job entry stations and protocols provided by the manufacturers.
The arrival of the 360/195 in 1971 with 20% of the resource dedicated to the users of the Atlas Laboratory meant that, as well as a substantial increase in the computing power available, it also widened the potential users from just particle physicists to any of SRC's supported disciplines.
Connections to the 360/91, 1971
This diagram from 1971 shows just 4 dedicated remote connections on the right. Two are in particle physics departments, the PDP9 is Peter Kirstein's experimental development system and the fourth is the Atlas Laboratory's IBM 1130.
Over the next four years, the external connections grew substantially.
Connections to the 360/195 in 1975
By 1975, there were over 35 workstations connected and the major type was the GEC 2050 workstation with code developed locally. By 1977, a front-end GEC 4080 processor allowed workstations to be connected to either the 360/195 or the ICL 1906A. Networking in a real sense had started. At the same time, the Post Office had introduced its Experimental Packet switching Network (EPSS) so that the ability to access all the SRC facilities from a single workstation was becoming possible.
SERC Network with GEC 4080 Front-End and EPSS, 1977
By 1979, the number of workstations connected to the 360/195 complex was over 50 and this display board of the time shows the complexity of the connections and the variety of resources available at each.
Network Connections, 1979
By 1984, the SRC/NERC Network was in operation as well as the Post Office Packet Switching Connection (PSS) providing network connections to most universities in the UK. The Joint Network team and later UKERNA became responsible for networking activities in the UK and RAL reverted to being a customer rather than supplier.