[SIGCIS-Members] Recent Posts / - vintage e.mail

Ceruzzi, Paul CeruzziP at si.edu
Thu Mar 23 06:29:30 PDT 2017


I have a copy of a approx. 20-page message from Marvin Minsky to Ben Gurley of the Digital Equipment Corporation, dated 12/29/60. He is proposing a system he called "SNATCH: SNATCH is a high-speed digital computational system based on a number of new ideas about computer organization programming methods and multiuser accommodation..." As far as I know the system was never built, but Minsky's description is very forward-thinking regarding multi-users, memory management, etc.

Minsky sent it from Bolt Beranek and Newman in Cambridge (near Fresh Pond, same place where Ray Tomlinson later worked). It looks like it was typed on a Teletype--upper-case only, with mistakes x-ed out (no backspace). BBN was only about 15 miles from DEC in Maynard, Mass., and he could have typed it on an ordinary typewriter, gotten in a cab, and brought it over. 

Does this count as an early electronic message? If so I can bring it over (on foot!) at your convenience.

Paul Ceruzzi
ceruzzip at si.edu

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