Back to the History of Project Delta
This timeline was prepared using the following sources, for which I am
- DSAA and University of Delaware annual reports on DELTA
- Written memoirs of Teresa Green and Alan Flippen
- E-mail recollections by George Robbins, Clark Baker,
Ron Dozier, Aron Insinga, Rich Thomson, Tom Conte, and others.
- General computer history entries are taken mainly from
Ken Polsson's Chronology of Events in the
History of Microcomputers.
Any errors of fact should be brought to
my attention so they can be corrected.
Alan Flippen, firstname.lastname@example.org
May 22, 1998
- Digital Equipment Corp. is founded (1957).
- John Kemeny and Thomas Kurtz of Dartmouth University invent BASIC (1964).
- DEC introduces the PDP-8 (1965).
- Delaware School Auxiliary Association's "Computer Knowledge" project. Batch
processing of FORTRAN programs on an IBM 1620 at the University of Delaware.
Simultaneously, U.S. Office of Education funds "Education Through Technology"
project using an IBM 1401. Teresa O. Green is hired as coordinator of this
- DECsystem-10 is introduced (1967).
- Intel is founded (1968).
- AT&T's Bell Laboratories develops UNIX (1969).
- These projects are terminated and DSAA, with help from the Delaware
Department of Public Instruction, launches a new pilot program using an IBM
1130 with timesharing and BASIC serving 20 high schools. It is operated through
the University's Department of Computer Science, the Computing Center and the
College of Education, and is again coordinated by Mrs. Green.
- DEC introduces the first PDP-11 (1970).
- While results of the pilot program are studied, DSAA project moves, as a
temporary measure, to the University's mainframe B5500 timesharing system.
- Formal launch of DSAA's "Project DELTA," using a PDP-8L housed at the Data
Information Center for Education, a joint project of five New Castle County
school districts, in Newport, Del.
- A PDP-11/20 running RSTS-11 replaces the PDP-8 in Newport.
- Intel introduces its first microprocessor, the 4004.
- The PDP 11/20 moves to 240 DuPont Hall under the aegis of the University's
Electrical Engineering Department.
- Intel introduces the 8008 chip.
- Atari releases Pong, the first commercially successful video game.
- To handle the increased user load, a PDP 11/50 is purchased to replace the
11/20 and Delta moves to 360 DuPont Hall.
- During this period, Dan Grim and other graduate students use Delta as a
research tool while helping Dr. Robinson and Mrs. Green run the system. They
develop a "virtual terminal handler" networking system that is intended to use
the old PDP 11/20 as a multiplexer for downstate schools and to allow school
districts with their own computer systems to network to Delta.
- Intel introduces the 8080 chip (1974).
- Microsoft is founded (1975).
- DEC introduces the PDP 11/70 (1975).
- Responsibility for DELTA is transferred from the Department of Electrical
Engineering to the College of Education, Department of Occupational Education.
Membership grows to 30 high schools and colleges.
- Apple Computer is founded.
- Edward E. Boas Jr. replaces Teresa Green as project leader. DSAA funding is
phased out. The 11/50 is moved from room 360 to room 358 (previously a terminal
room) in DuPont Hall. Ed Jones becomes system manager.
- Three of the first major microcomputers are introduced: the Apple II,
the TRS-80 and the Commodore PET.
- DELTA is transferred to the Educational Resource Center of the College of
Education. The 11/50 is replaced by a PDP 11/70 housed in the University of
Delaware Computing Center. The staff room is moved to 203-1 Willard Hall.
- DEC introduces the first VAX.
- Dr. Robert L. Uffelman becomes DELTA Director, supervising Ed Boas. Shift
in focus away from hands-on education of high school students begins as DELTA
wins contract to develop Jobs for Delaware Graduates software. Staff room moves
to 011 Willard Hall, known as the "fishbowl" because it was glass-enclosed and
just off the main lobby.
- Intel introduces the 8088 chip, which will be used in the first IBM PC.
- Motorola introduces the 68000 chip, a version of which will be used in the
- Staff room is taken away from DELTA and operations move to 133 and 107
Willard Hall (Ed Jones' and Ed Boas's offices).
- Compuserve Information Service is launched.
- IBM hires Microsoft to develop software for its personal computer.
- New Castle County School District begins pulling out of DELTA, moving its
schools to its own VAX computer at the former Alexis I. DuPont School
District's 'Project Direct.' Shift in emphasis to contract programming of
database packages is now almost complete. Ed Jones resigns.
- IBM introduces its first PC.
- Hayes Microcomputer Products introduces the Smartmodem 300.
- New Castle County completes its conversion to the VAX and hires Ed Boas as
manager. DELTA is shut down. A few years later, the New Castle County VAX is
also shut down and schools move to microcomputers.
- Commodore 64 is introduced.
- Apple develops Macintosh prototype.
- Intel introduces 80286 chip.
- Sun Microsystems and Lotus Development Corp. are founded.
- DEC introduces the last of its PDP-11 series: the PDP 11/93 and 11/94.
- DELTA Alumni group and Web site are founded.
- DEC is acquired by Compaq Computer Corporation.
Year and number of schools and students served by DELTA:
(according to DSAA records)
|1966||9 schools, 19 students|
|1967||16 schools, 31 students|
|1968||14 schools, 263 students|
|1969||16 schools, 556 students|
|1970||no records found|
|1971||19 schools, 3,100 students|
|1972-73||no records found|
|1974||21 schools, 4,500 students|
|1975||23 schools, 5,500 students|
|1976||30 schools, est. 10,000 students|
(DSAA involvement ended after 1976 and no further records have been found)