William Frederick Jolitz attended the University of California, Berkeley during a period of great change and opportunity.
While still staying involved with NASA and "Silicon Valley" to the south (often by motorcycle, same day),
Cal's environment of science, engineering and technology was very different.
Before Cal, William Jolitz was used to technology like
the IBM 370/145 DOS/VS (BAL, PL/1) of the local college, either the IBM 360/67 TSS (Fortran, PL/1G) or the CDC 7600
(Run76, Compass) of NASA, or the UCLA IBM 360/95 and Stanford 360/65 (Algol W). Science was liquid helium dewars,
oscilloscopes, and actual measurement of physical observations.
Engineering was breadboarding of devices and equipment acquired from affliated groups in a shared budget relationship.
Classes in Physics were competitive due to pre-med and engineering students viewing it as a
"battle of attrition" rather than first steps in a career. Hands-on laboratory experience, while
assigned, was deemphasized, with the primary focus the discovery of potential theoretical
candidates to refine and reduce. For experimentalist scientists this was pure hell. For engineers
and pre-med students, more an ordeal to be endured and forgotten.
Undergraduate resources were extremely limited, as grad resources were starved and had more priority.
026 card punch
Arriving at Cal, William Jolitz was surprised to find Cal Computer Services pushed most student work from
many different departments through a
cranky CDC 6400 in the basement of Evans Hall for batch mode processing (Pascal).
Even the cardpunch was a decade older machines (026's with BCD) - many of the
cards required manual "multipunch" like 6-7-8-9 to signal "end-of-file".
The first minicomputers were being phased in with the Math-Stat Computer Science
PDP 11/45 on the
4th floor of Evans Hall,
which ran UNIX part of the time and BASIC the rest of the time.
The 2.8BSD kernel was originally work done
for the Cory Hall PDP 11/70, and
release engineered on the PDP 11/40
in Stanley Hall (since rebuilt completely).
The Stanley Hall PDP 11/40 was in the middle of a lab
for molecular research ("regulation in ATCase") - William once had to clean
by hand all hundred board corroded edge connectors
with an ink eraser so it would correctly run the toggled-in
diagnostics of "1: cmp #0,#0 ; je 1b; halt" for hours instead of stopping in seconds.
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) was a hot major, with
varied activities from Op Amp simulation via Spice, to conventional architecture,
design and development (for example, William took CS252 with Alan Kotok,
which could have been subtitled
"... or how I built the PDP/KL-10", M box and the E box).
The Computer Science Undergraduate Club (CSUC), populated primarily by physics
undergrads, acquired a heavily modified PDP-5 computer as its first system,
for a while kept in the basement of the Eshelman hall. The group was later renamed the
Computer Science Undergraduate Association (CSUA) when they got an office in Evans Hall.