A United States
-wide commercial computer network, created by Tymshare, Inc. some time before 1970, and used for remote login and file transfer
. In its original implementation, it was made up of a number of fairly simple circuit-oriented
nodes, whose circuits were created by one central network supervisor
writing into the appropriate nodes' "permuter table
s". The supervisors also performed login validation
s as well as circuit management. Circuits were character oriented and the network was oriented towards interactive character-by-character full-duplex
There was a clever scheme to switch the echoing function between the local node and the host based on whether or not a special character had been typed by the user. Data transfers were also possible via "auxiliary circuits".
The network had more than one supervisor running, but only one was active, the others being put to sleep with "sleeping pill" messages. If the active supervisor went down, all the others would wake up and battle for control of the network. After the battle, the supervisor with the highest pre-set priority would dominate, and the network would then again be controlled by only one supervisor. (During the takeover battle, the net consisted of subsets of itself across which new circuits could not be built). Existing circuits were not affected by supervisor switches.
Tymshare, Inc. originally wrote and implemented TYMNET to provide nationwide access for their time-sharing customers. When Tymshare started using Interdata 8/32 minicomputers as nodes they started developing TYMNET on PDP-10. The Tymshare hosts (which ran customer code) were SDS 940, XDS 940, DEC PDP-10, and eventually IBM 370 computers. The switches were originally: Varian Data Machines 620 and Interdata 8/32. PDP-10s supported (and still do in 1999) cross-platform development and billing.
Tymshare sold the TYMNET network software to TRW, who created their own private network (which was not called TYMNET). In about 1979, TYMNET Inc. was spun off from Tymshare, Inc. to continue administration and development of the network.
TYMNET was the largest commercial network in the United States in its heyday, with nodes in every major US city and a few overseas as well. Tymshare acquired a French subsidiary, SLIGOS, and had TYMNET nodes in Paris, France.
TYMNET has outlived its parent company Tymshare and is now owned by MCI. As of May 1994 they still ran three DEC KL-10s under TYMCOM-X, although they planned to decommission them soon.
The original creators of TYMNET include: Ann Hardy, Norm Hardy, Bill Frantz. Laroy Tymes (who always insisted that his name was NOT the source of the name) wrote the first supervisor which ran on the 940. Joe Rinde made many significant technical and marketing contributions. Laroy wrote most of the code of the network proper. Several others wrote code in support of development and administration. Just recently (1999) Laroy, on contract, wrote a version of the supervisor to run on SPARC hardware.
The name TYMNET was suggested by Vigril Swearingen in a weekly meeting between Tymshare technical and marketing staff in about 1970.
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