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Re: Pre-relational, post-relational, 1968 CODASYL "Survey of Data Base Systems"

From: Ken North <>
Date: Sun, 25 Apr 2004 19:50:27 -0700
Message-ID: <c6ht9e$ent$>

Additional comments about GIM/Pick database history that you posted in another newsgroup:

<< It was written at TRW in order to make it so that the military in Viet Nam
could query their data without technical folks in the field.

GIRLS (1961) and GIM (1965) were developed before minicomputers and microcomputers were available. GIM-I ran on IBM mainframes. The IBM mainframes in use in Vietnam and Thailand were not running GIM during the Vietnam War.

The original funding to develop the software was the US government's Cheyenne helicopter program. Keeping track of a bill-of-materials (parts database) for a major aircraft was understood not to be a problem for paper and filing cabinets, even in 1965. Ironically, the Cheyenne never went into production.

<< Prior to the end of the cold war, it was used by the CIA

Some of the original GIM team worked on porting from the 32-bit IBM 360 (GIM-I) to the 16-bit PDP-11 (GIM-II). The GIM-II port was done in the 1972-73 timeframe at TRW's Washington Operation. Dick Pick had left TRW before that time. While TRW was developing GIM-II for the PDP-11, Pick was doing a port for Microdata minicomputers. That became Microdata Reality.

By 1974:

  1. GIM-I was running at TRW Systems Group in Redondo Beach, California
  2. Microdata Reality was just down the road in Irvine, California
  3. GIM-II was running at the CIA (Virginia)
  4. TRW had GIM licensees around the world, including CADAFE in Venezuela and Matra in France.

The next port was taking GIM-I from 32-bit IBM mainframes to 36-bit Univac mainframes. That was done in Houston, Texas for NASA's Manned Space Flight Center. The Univac version of GIM was eventually licensed to a commercial timesharing network (Infonet) as I-GIM.

In the mid-70s, TRW took delivery of an IBM 370/158 at TRW Systems Group in Space Park (Redondo Beach). That was a virtual memory computer that supported demand paging and provided hardware for direct address translation.

Before IBM offerred virtual memory on the 370, the GIM system had done its own paging on IBM 360s. The DBMS code and data structures were too large to reside in memory. It was necessary to analyze data structures and execution paths to determine what modules belonged in what pages. The purpose was to swap pages efficiently to/from disk and avoid thrashing.

Later in the '70s, the GIM system at Space Park was used for other important activities, such as development of NASA's Space Transportation System (the Space Shuttle). Received on Sun Apr 25 2004 - 21:50:27 CDT

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