Introduction and Overview of the Multics System

Introduction and Overview of the Multics System

10 Pages · 2015 · 146 KB · English

Automatic management of the complex of flexible remote access, encourages users to view the system as a thinking .. Similarly, it is straightforward to write recursive procedures (i.e., subroutines capable of calling on themselves.

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Introduction and Overview of the Multics System F J Corbat? Massachusetts Institute of Technology Cambridge, Massachusetts and V A Vyssotsky Bell Telephone Laboratories, Inc Murray Hill, New Jersey Multics (Multiplexed Information and Computing Service) is a comprehensive, generalpurpose programming system which is being developed as a research project The initial Multics system will be implemented on the GE 645 computer One of the overall design goals is to create a computing system which is capable of meeting almost all of the present and nearfuture requirements of a large computer utility Such systems must run continuously and reliably 7 days a week, 24 hours a day in a way similar to telephone or power systems, and must be capable of meeting wide service demands: from multiple manmachine interaction to the sequential processing of absenteeuser jobs; from the use of the system with dedicated languages and subsystems to the programming of the system itself; and from centralized bulk card, tape, and printer facilities to remotely located terminals Such information processing and communication systems are believed to be essential for the future growth of computer use in business, in industry, in government and in scienti?c laboratories as well as stimulating applications which would be otherwise undone Because the system must ultimately be comprehensive and able to adapt to unknown future requirements, its framework must be general, and capable of evolving with time As brought out in the companion papers[15], this need for an evolutionary framework in?uences and contributes to much of the system design and is a major reason why most of the programming of the system will be done in the PL/I language[6] Because the PL/I language is largely machine independent (eg data descriptions refer to logical items, not physical words), the system should also be Speci?cally, it is hoped that future hardware improvements will not make system and user programs obsolete and that implementation of the entire system on other suitable computers will require only a moderate amount of additional programming The present paper attempts to give a detailed discussion of the design objectives as they relate to the major areas of the system Some of the highlights of the subsequent papers are: a virtual memory system for each user involving two dimensional addressing with segmentation and paging ; the dynamic linking of program segment crossreferences at execution time to minimize system overhead; the routine use of sharable, recursive, pure procedure programming within the system as the normal mode of operation; the pooled use of multiple processors, memory modules, and inputoutput controllers; and multiprogramming of all resources and of multiple users Automatic management of the complex of secondary storage media along with backup, retrieval, and maintenance procedures for the stored information will be provided by a ?le system Further, it is expected that most of the software of the system will be almost identical in form to user programs The system will incorporate automatic pageturning for both user and system programs alike Introduction As computers have matured during the last two decades from curiosities to calculating machines to information processors, access to them by users has not improved and in the case of most large machines has retrogressed Principally for economic reasons, batch processing of computer jobs has been developed and is currently practiced by most large computer installations, and the concomitant isolation of the user from elementary causeandeffect relationships has been either reluctantly endured or rationalized For several years a solution has been proposed to the access problem[79] This solution, usually called timesharing , is basically the rapid timedivision multiplexing of a central processor unit among the jobs of several users, each of which is on line at a typewriterlike console The rapid switching of the processor unit among user programs is, of course, nothing but a particular form of multiprogramming It is now abundantly clear that it is possible to create a generalpurpose timeshared multiaccess

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