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Panelists for the Maze War 30 Year Retrospective
At the Vintage Computer Festival 7.0

Panel to be held at the Vintage Computer Festival
Sunday November 7, 2004, 1:00 pm (track 01) at the
Computer History Museum, Mountain View, CA
See this session and Sunday's tracks described here

Greg Thompson

Greg Thompson , Chief Video Architect, Cisco’s Video Networking Business Unit

In September 2003, Greg Thompson joined Cisco as the Chief Video Architect for their Video Networking Business Unit (VNBU) now part of the Broadband Edge & Midrange Routing (BEMRBU) focused on developing products and leadership in video transport and processing for MSO and Telco operators, building on Cisco’s existing leadership in DOCSIS-based high speed data, GigE switching, and IP routing technology.

 Prior to Cisco, Greg Thompson was the Chief Technology Officer for nCUBE, responsible for directing research and development strategies. Focusing on the company's video server development and video-on-demand (VOD) products, Mr. Thompson analyzed and promoted access network architectures, standards and other technologies applicable to video servers and broadband video delivery. Starting in 1993, Mr. Thompson was involved in the early VOD and interactive TV market trials for nCUBE at British Telecom, Bell Atlantic, and elsewhere.

Prior to nCUBE, Mr. Thompson was a co-founder and consulting engineer of Interlink Computer Sciences, where he was a primary architect of DECnet and TCP/IP products for IBM’s MVS and VM systems used at major corporations. Before that, Mr. Thompson was a consultant with Digital Equipment Corporation.

Mr. Thompson is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science and Engineering. He is a member of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE), and Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) computer societies.

Greg Thompson's Maze History

In 1974 I took the original Imlac Maze implementation developed at NASA/Ames by Steve Colley and Howard Palmer to the MIT Project Mac DMS lab and enhanced it into a full networked multi-player game. This was in co-operation with Dave Lebling who did the ITS/PDP-10 side multiplexor, robot generator, and server program. Later in Fall 1976 I also did the Maze processor design for the 7400-series TTL logic 3D hardware version implemented for the MIT 6.111/6.112 digital design lab along with Mark Horowitz who did the display processor and George Woltman who did the firmware (which included robots) in 512 bytes of memory.

Powerpoint delivered by Greg Thompson, The aMazing History of Maze:

HTML version of presentation, or
Powerpoint version of presentation (4.4MB)

Howard Palmer

Howard Palmer got his start in computing in 1969, as a junior in high school, through the NASA Ames Student Space Biology Program. Together with Steve Colley, another high school student at Ames, they conceived and implemented the original Maze program on the Imlac PDS-1. Howard and Steve continued to work at Ames in a small group of students under the direction of Jim Hart. Mainly through the use of Imlac workstations, this group greatly expanded the availability of interactive computer graphics to researchers at Ames.

This group was also central to early networking research at Ames. They designed and implemented hardware and software to support a network of Imlac workstations, served by a custom operating system on an IBM 1800. Howard implemented an ARPAnet Network Control Program (NCP) running on DOS-11 on a PDP-11/45. That may help to explain why Howard's undergraduate adviser at Stanford, Vint Cerf, was unable to interest him in working on a new protocol, called TCP/IP. As he explained to Dr. Cerf, "I've done networking. I came here to get into artificial intelligence."

Howard soon became disillusioned with AI, at least as it was practiced at that time, and did eventually wise up about networking, building a long career around TCP/IP and other protocols, and ultimately winning financial freedom in the lottery that was Netscape. Since early 2001, he has been taking a break to pursue personal interests. Besides life, the universe, and everything, these interests still include artificial intelligence, which Howard feels is finally on the right track. His most recent projects have been in the area of genetic programming. Howard can be reached as user hep at the domain acm.org.

See Howard's early history of Maze here. Howard is doing special development for this event including: an Imlac assembler, modifications to the MIT mazewar source to work on Tom Uban's Imlac PDS-1D, a Java server which shuttles packets between the Imlac and the network, and a Windows mazewar client. Thanks Howard!

Ken Harrenstien

Maze at INTEROP in 1992
, thanks to Oracle and Ken Harrenstien

Ken worked on the Oracle version of Maze for INTEROP in 1992. More here soon.

Tom Uban

Tom Uban became interested in computers during his high school years when he would spend time on the Plato terminal at Valparaiso University, playing one of the many multi-user games such as empire, trek, or dogfight. While at Purdue University, where he acquired his BSEE, he had the opportunity to use two Imlac terminals, a PDS-1 and a PDS-1D, again generally for playing games such as space war. Tom was not directly exposed to mazewar at this time.

Following college, Tom's interests and work took him to Bolt, Baranek, and Neuman (in Cambridge, MA), where he helped to port the CMU Mach operating system to both the Butterfly and TC2000 massively parallel computers. Following BBN, he started a successful consulting company through which he performed work for a number of fortune 500 companies until returning to the midwest to design pinball games for Williams Electronics Games in Chicago. While at Williams, besides working on a number of game titles, he was also the system architect for the Pinball 2000 platform, which utilized an innovative 3-D virtual image married with the conventional pinball table. Tom is currently a technical leader at Cisco Systems.

Among Tom's interests are vintage computers, including the Imlac PDS-1D which he used while at Purdue University, and which he has maintained in a functional state over the years.

For this special mazewar event, Tom has been assisting Howard Palmer in his effort to resurrect the MIT mazewar program running on Tom's Imlac and over the network to another mazeware program (also written by Howard) running on a PC. It is through this effort that Tom first experienced mazewar on the Imlac and story of the long distance collaboration to succeed in getting mazewar running on the Imlac in time for VCF 7.0 is interesting.

More about Tom at his homepage and his computer museum featuring the Imlac PDS-1D.

Jerry Morrison

Jerry was one of those night-time PDP-10 programmers at MIT LCS' DMS group who sometimes played Maze and explored the early ArpaNet. After graduation Jerry went to Xerox, working on the Star office system. The Xerox Alto was the first GUI workstation running on the first Ethernet, and it did have a couple network games. His career interest is creating "new media", making computers more useful, usable, and fun for many people. That brought him to Electronic Arts, Apple, and finally Google.

Jerry will regale us with stories of maze at MIT DMS and Xerox, plus other 70's multi-player network games like CubeWars (text-only, over the ArpaNet) and trek on the Xerox Alto.

Moderator and Introducer: Bruce Damer

Bruce Damer is co-founder and Curator of the DigiBarn Computer Museum in the Santa Cruz Mountains of the Bay Area of Northern California. He has a passion for both the history of visual computing and a practice in the virtual worlds business as CEO of DigitalSpace Corporation and the author of the first book on Avatars and multi-player games on the Internet. So... his mania to bring Maze to a modern audience is understandable. Bruce will introduce Maze with a brief presentation and then moderate the panel. Working with DigiBarn crew Bruce will also bring some historic systems running Maze for hands-on experiencing during the VCF. More about Bruce's wacky life here.

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