by Darius Kazemi, October 26 2019
RFC-299 is titled “Information Management System”. It's authored by Dorothy Hopkin of the University of Illinois Center for Advanced Computation and dated February 11, 1972.
The technical content
This RFC is a statement of intent for the building of a system for querying large amounts of data, with storage offloaded to the datacomputer. (Recall that this is a kind of prototypical remote storage device with a “trillion bit” storage capacity.)
People who might want to use this are encouraged to contact the author.
If she wasn't already Director of the Center for Advanced Computation at the time of this RFC, Hopkin would hold that title by 1977. Here is an advertisement from the April 11, 1977 issue of Computerworld featuring Hopkin:
MARK IV was a programming language first developed in the 1960s that provided non-programmers a way to manage files and records and generate reports. It was often used for accounting purposes: keeping track of general ledgers and invoices and generating reports for businesspeople to take action on.
There is an interesting interview transcript with Walter F. Bauer of Informatics that covers some of the business strategy around selling MARK IV, which was one of the first commercial software applications ever sold, and certainly the first multi-million-dollar “hit”.
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I'm Darius Kazemi. I'm an independent technologist and artist. I do a lot of work on the decentralized web with ActivityPub, including a Node.js reference implementation, an RSS-to-ActivityPub converter, and a fork of Mastodon, called Hometown. You can support my work via my Patreon.