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 About the SchoolInformation TechnologyOIR Ancient History     May 29, 2016  

Mr. Gunther Kohn
Chief Information Officer

University at Buffalo
State University of New York
School of Dental Medicine
108 Squire Hall
Buffalo, NY 14214

Phone: (716) 829-2057
FAX: (716) 829-2294



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HP System 1000 - née Aug 3, 1978 - died Jan 4, 1996

BUFFALO, NY, JAN 4, 1996: The long awaited arrival of a new, sophisticated clinic computer system for the SUNY Buffalo School of Dental Medicine was marked by the retirement of its long-utilized Hewlett-Packard 1000 computer. An official unplugging ceremony, with refreshments, was performed by George W. Ferry, DDS Dr. Ferry was the last system manager, and retires from his computer obligations after 15 years service to devote more time to his new sideline as curator of the school's dental museum. Grant T. Phipps, DDS, Ph.D., initiated the HP 1000 system in August of 1978. Dr. Phipps retired as Chairman of Behavioral Sciences and system manager in 1991.

The HP 1000 operated on a RTE-IVB system customized by Dr. Phipps. Programming was cumbersome using FORTRAN to do clerical functions instead of its intended design as a laboratory number cruncher. Eighteen years is a long time for anything, especially for a computer system. We owe our old, reliable HP friend a big Thank You for a job well done.

-- George W. Ferry, DDS

The HP system was a definite old-timer when it came to languages. I found manuals for the following languages in the racks:

• FORTRAN IV (yes, that's the predecessor to FORTRAN 77, released in 1977)
• HP Assembler
• HP Basic
• ...and HP Microcoding! (one level BELOW assembler!)

All in all, not bad for the 1970's. I guess we should just be glad that there was no COBOL code left in the beast.

The system implemented locally here in the school was started by a local company called "Penny Associates". They wrote the first system and sold it to us.

After several months of use, we wanted changes to be made to accommodate the growing needs of our user community. Penny Associates charged something above what we had a budget for, so Dr. Grant Phipps decided to just do it himself! Dr. Phipps, DDS had no formal computer training, but believed that with enough determination, anything was possible. Certainly it was. Dr. Phipps added an entire Recall set of programs and expanded the scope of existing programs to handle the entire load.

...all in FORTRAN IV.


The saving grace for Dr. Phipps and his successor Dr. George Ferry was the HP data-processing package that was shipped with the system. "Image/1000" was a network database-structured run-time library ("network" in this case does not refer to wires and communicating computers). FORTRAN IV programs could call routines in the Image/1000 set to create new records, query the database, and return results. This was the one tool that proved toe the biggest win for us.

Incidentally, the "new, sophisticated clinic computer system" mentioned above is still in use and actively being developed today and is know internally as Picasso.


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