TPS (1973-78)

Timeframe: 1973-1978 Technology: RSTS/E Basic


TPS stands for Transaction Processing System. It was a system way ahead of its time and it got me my job at Tandem Computers in 1978.

Chrysler had a plant in Syracuse that built transmissions. They wanted to be able to monitor the manufacturing process and capture significant events. Originally, the purpose of the system was to monitor the productivity of the machines and their operators; however the union involved would not allow that, so the system became more of an information support solution.

The equipment to be used to build TPS was a PDP 11/45 with about 5MB of disk. I cannot remember how much RAM it had, but the operating system (RSTS/E) had a limitation of 32K for each program which turned out to be a significant problem.

In order to get around this limitation, I had to break the system into multiple cooperating processes that talked with each other, but no such capability existed in RSTS/E until the most recent release which added a feature that allowed one process to send 20 bytes of information to another process.

It took me many months to enhance this capability so that I could send strings of any length from any process to any other process and wait for a reply.

TPS had multiple cooperating processes, a database engine, both dynamic and resident transactions, a transaction definition language and a compiler that produced RSTS/E Basic code, a monitoring console and an event logger. It had load balancing capabilities and it could support dozens of concurrent transactions. The database engine supported field-level access and was capable of 20ms response time.

TPS was used at Chrysler for several years and was eventually replaced by a mainframe based system. Although I eventually owned the rights to it, I had no capacity to market it. When IIS encountered financial problems, I moved to Tandem and left TPS behind.


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