This sounds kind of amazing... and maybe relevant for thinking about
Wikimedia's future. In 41 years, will we have a wikipe...@50
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Brian Dear <br...@platohistory.org>
Date: Wed, Feb 24, 2010 at 4:20 PM
Subject: [Air-L] Conference Announcement: 50th Anniv of PLATO System
(June 2-3, 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 all of 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.
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 everything that
happened before the Internet took off) and the History of Technology
* 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,
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
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
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
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