[ih] Conference Announcement: PLATO @ 50, Computer History Museum, June 2-3, 2010
brian at platohistory.org
Wed Feb 24 16:24:42 PST 2010
[ Conference Announcement ]
"PLATO @ 50"
A 2-day Conference Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the PLATO Computer System and its Online Community
Co-produced by the PLATO History Foundation and the Computer History Museum, with major support from Microsoft Corporation.
WHERE AND WHEN:
Computer History Museum
Mountain View, California
June 2-3, 2010
--> This is a FREE conference and is open to the public. <--
HOW TO REGISTER (FREE):
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
ABOUT THIS CONFERENCE:
This once-in-a-lifetime conference focuses on the history and significance of the PLATO computer system and online community. PLATO began in 1960 as an experimental computer-based education system running on the ILLIAC-1 computer at the University of Illinois. During the 1960s the system expanded greatly and as early as 1963 PLATO offered college courses for credit. One of the pioneering efforts of the 1960s became a true phenomenon by the 1970s, where the PLATO IV system, funded by NSF and ARPA, supported 1000 simultaneous users connected via gas-plasma flat-panel display terminals with built-in touch screens (the gas-plasma flat-panel display was invented for the PLATO system, decades before it would emerge as a television technology for consumers). For nearly ten years, there were more users connected to the various PLATO systems installed around the world in the 1970s and early 80s than there were on ARPANET, the major precursor to the Internet. This conference is the first opportunity to discover an entire, amazingly rich and vibrant history of computing, social media, and online community that flourished long before many people would have thought it was possible for such things to exist at such a level of sophistication.
A HANDS-ON EVENT:
A number of fully-restored, functioning PLATO terminals will be available during the conference for actual hands-on interacting with a live PLATO system that includes thousands of courseware lessons on subjects ranging from elementary math and reading to advanced chemistry and calculus; games (Empire, Avatar, Moria, etc.); and social media (TERM-talk, Talkomatic, Notes, Personal Notes, etc.)
WHO SHOULD ATTEND:
* Anyone interested in Social Media, Social Software, Blogs, Online Newspapers, Digital Journalism, Online Communities: it all emerged on PLATO years before anywhere else.
* Anyone interested in Internet Studies (come find out what was happening before the Internet took off) and the History of Technology and Computing
* Anyone interested in the history of online games, online virtual goods and economies, multiplayer games, MUDs, sports games, card games, simulations, and how PLATO influenced and continues to influence and inspire game development today
* Anyone interested in the impact of computers on society, cyberculture, online relationships, online addiction, privacy issues, censorship, and the controversies of anonymous online postings.
* Anyone interested in computer-assisted instruction, e-Learning, CBT, computer-based education, authoring systems, online testing and administration. PLATO was the largest government-funded system in the history of educational computing.
* Anyone who loves technology, computers, and the Internet, and wants to learn what the Future looked like decades ago, at a time when Google's founders were still in diapers, and Apple and Microsoft had not yet been founded.
(NOTE: SUBJECT TO REVISION - follow the platohistory.org site for updates)
[----------- Wednesday June 2 -----------]
7pm: General Introductions, and an Overview of PLATO History
Featuring John Hollar, CEO of Computer History Museum, and Brian Dear, PLATO History Foundation
7:20pm: Panel #1: SEEING THE FUTURE THROUGH THE PAST: A CONVERSATION WITH DONALD BITZER AND RAY OZZIE
Featuring Dr. Donald Bitzer, Distinguished Research Professor and creator of PLATO, and Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation. Dr. Bitzer was only 26 when he began work on creating the PLATO system in the summer of 1960. Ray Ozzie got his start as a student programmer on PLATO at the University of Illinois in the 1970s, and the experience has guided and inspired his career (which includes creating Lotus Notes, named after PLATO Notes) ever since.
[----------- Thursday June 3 -----------]
8:30am Morning sessions
Panel #2: AN EARLY ONLINE COMMUNITY: PEOPLE PLUS COMPUTING GROWS COMMUNITES
Featuring Dave Woolley, Doug Brown, Kim Mast, and others. How PLATO's online community emerged in 1972-73, including one of the first conferencing/message-board systems (PLATO Notes), the first multi-user chat room (Talk-o-matic), one of the first instant messaging applications (TERM-talk), sophisticated remote-monitoring functionality, live online consulting and help, PLATO's electronic mail (Personal Notes), and more. Learn how the PLATO system provided its thousands of users with one of the earliest glimpses of what would be coming decades later with the Internet and Web.
Panel #3. PLATO GAMES: AN EARLY, ROBUST COMMUNITY OF MULTI-PLAYER, ONLINE GAMES
Featuring Brand Fortner, John Daleske, Andrew Shapira, and others. PLATO's games are legendary and some of the earliest examples of sophisticated multi-player games, including Empire (precursor of NetTrek and dozens of others), Airfight (precursor of Microsoft Flight Simulator), Avatar/Moria/Oubliette/DND (precursors of DOOM, EverQuest, and World of Warcraft), and countless other games.
12:00pm LUNCH INCLUDED
1pm: Afternoon sessions
PANEL #4: PLATO SOFTWARE: DRIVEN BY A CLEAR, COMPELLING CHALLENGE
Featuring Bruce Sherwood, Michael Walker, Bob Rader, others. Learn about how the PLATO system software evolved over the years, including the powerful TUTOR authoring language, the powerful graphics editors, sophisticated answer judging, and other tools and utilities.
PANEL #5: EARLY ON-LINE EDUCATION AND COURSEWARE: LESSONS LEARNED, INSIGHTS GLEANED
Featuring Dr. Ruth Chabay and others. Find out the lessons learned from one of the earliest and most major courseware development projects across all areas from elementary education to college-level to industry and government. What can we learn from the evolution of courseware from its designers and their subsequent careers?
PANEL #6: PLATO HARDWARE: MISSION-BASED DEVELOPMENTS LED OTHER PLACES
Featuring Donald Bitzer, Roger Johnson, Larry Weber, others. Learn about the amazing innovations including the history of the gas-plasma flat-panel display (which, in 1968, was a major inspiration for Alan Kay and his "Dynabook" personal laptop computer), PLATO's touch panel, the CYBER mainframes and custom peripheral systems, and other innovations.
PANEL #7: A CLOSE LOOK AT A CULTURE OF INNOVATION: WHAT DON BITZER WROUGHT; WHAT CAN BE LEARNED FROM IT
Featuring Bob Sutton, CK Gunsalus, Bob Price (former CEO of Control Data Corporation), David Frankel, and others. Learn about the culture of the PLATO laboratory at the University of Illinois that enabled and empowered bright people to excel. Also covered will be lessons learned from Control Data Corporation's marketing and commercialization of PLATO, its many years of interactions and collaboration with the University of Illinois, and CDC's own PLATO innovations in hardware, software, courseware, and addressing society's major unmet needs.
5:30 (approx) Wrap-up and conference closing.
(Once again: times, speakers, etc. still subject to some revision and minor changes).
This is not your average conference. It is going to be a major historical event and one that offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear and meet many of the original PLATO system creators, users, and researchers. This free event is sure to fill up early, so register early to make sure you can attend.
HOW TO REGISTER (FREE):
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
see the PLATO History Blog at http://platohistory.org
See you there!
PLATO History Foundation
La Jolla, California
brian at platohistory.org
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