Thanks for the error-free memories

In 1982 we were supporting applications running in the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) computer environment. This specific application, which was developed in Assembler language by a different firm, used Memory Mapping and ran on a RSX11S platform on a PDP 11/10 with 16K of memory (yes, that is a K not an M). That in itself seems ridiculous nowadays. The application monitored alarm points for a number of sites in our company.

Our data was stored data consecutively in a data store in order to use Memory Mapping. Then we were told we had to add some alarm points at specific sites, something that was not suppose to happen according to original requirements.

programmer, named Ron, was tasked with developing a program (this would be the largest program in our application) to ‘insert’ these alarms at specific sites. Ron started by drawing out flowcharts and never strayed from those flowcharts to begin coding. After completion and review of the flowcharts, he then coded his program, assembled it and prepared it for testing. The program required to add points in multiples of 16, so the first action in the program was to ask for the number of points and verify that it was a multiple of 16. When you typed a number in your assembler code, the assembler assumed it was an Octal value, unless you put a decimal after the number. Ron had forgot to type a decimal after his number 16 in his source code. That was quickly corrected and then he ran the program.

Ron had been working less than a year for our company. From this point on, this program worked flawlessly for the life of this application. This was the first time and last time I ever saw a computer program developed error free (not counting the typo on the 16.). To me this was quite a feat, considering this was developed in Assembler language.

Gilles Picard, Regina