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rfc:rfc519

Network Working Group J. Pickens Request for Comments: 519 Computer Systems Laboratory – UCSB NIC: 16818 June 1973

                        Resource Evaluation

Abstract

 In the spirit of RFC # 369, Evaluation of ARPANET resources, a new
 test group was organized at UCSB to take a detailed look at specific
 network resources and develop initial site dependent and function
 dependent MINIMAN's (Concise User Manuals).  As the group was again
 composed of novices, initial effort revolved about basic procedural
 indoctrination.  In the period between January and March 1973 a
 number of resources were investigated with varying degrees of
 success, as to availability, proper usage, sample problem solutions,
 and access to help and documentation.  Included in this paper are a
 summary of the projects undertaken, initial suggestions at MINIMAN
 composition, and suggestions for future test groups.  As these groups
 are attempting to perform a useful function for the ARPANET
 community, comments and suggestions are requested.  Copies of the
 reports described herein are available on request from the Computer
 Systems Laboratory at UCSB.

Resources Investigated by the Group

 I.  APL
    APL was investigated primarily at MULTICS.  UCSD was also
    scheduled for evaluation but not carried out.  APL at MULTICS was
    used to solve a few trivial problems.  Most effort revolved about
    the difficult task of obtaining any available documentation.  The
    octal codes for APL characters were obtained and mapped into the
    OLS keyboard.  A side goal of the project, the comparison of APL
    with OLS, was begun but progressed very little.
 II.  Basic
    Basic was investigated at a number of TENEX sites.  Differences
    between sites were pointed out and necessary file manipulation
    commands were documented.  An integration problem was written at
    one site, sent via FTP to another site, and then run again to show
    comparative execution times and compatability.  Non-PDP/10 sites
    were investigated but no report was submitted.

Pickens [Page 1] RFC 519 Resource Evaluation June 1973

 III.  TSO
    IBM's Time Sharing option was exercised at UCLA-CCN.  Interesting
    results were obtained regarding cost and execution time.
    Available commands were documented and a PL/1 program was written
    and executed.
 IV.  MIT-MATHLAB
    This, the most successful of the projects, involved documentation
    of help, file manipulation, and MACSYMA access and an original
    research project in resource sharing.  A recursive problem in
    pattern recognition and a triple integration were solved to
    demonstrate MACSYMA generated expressions into user programs on
    the OLS.  More information on this project is forthcoming.
 V.  Local User Guide
    A first pass network users manual was completed for UCSB users.
    In it are described console access and settings, character
    mappings, current servers, users and TIPs, and error conditions.
    Following minor revisions this guide will be distributed to local
    users.
 VI.  Local IMLAC Access to Network
    Access to network graphics programs was attempted with a local
    IMLAC.  Due to the non-uniformity of network IMLACs very little
    success was obtained.  However, a program to access SRI-ARC's NLS
    was compiled and loaded from NIC and attempts were made to iron
    out the bugs.  In addition a project was begun to maintain an
    IMLAC library and compiler locally for network usage.  As in the
    other projects, basic operating procedures were documented.
 VII.  Harvard Graphics
    Several attempts were made to learn of availability of graphics
    access to organic molecule synthesis programs but no response
    could be generated.  This project was eventually abandoned.

MINIMAN Composition

 As mentioned in a previous report, concise manuals are needed for
 network resources so that uniniated users may gain basic familiarity
 with foreign systems.  In addition, manuals which describe specific
 network wide functions, such as Fortran compilors, are needed if
 resource sharing is to become a real trait of the ARPANET.  For the
 resources evaluated, each group member submitted two reports

Pickens [Page 2] RFC 519 Resource Evaluation June 1973

 analagous to the two types of MINIMANS needed in the network.  The
 headings and format of the reports will be included here to stimulate
 future discussion on MINIMAN composition.
 REPORT # 1: Online Help for [a specific host computer]
       I.  Connection, Login, and Optimal TELNET Settings
      II.  Help Files
     III.  Job Status
      IV.  Time of Day
       V.  Time/Money  Used/Left
      VI.  Interpersonal Communications
           A. Console Linking
           B. Location of Users
           C. Mail Facilities
           D. Access to Operator and/or Consultants
     VII.  Warnings or Unfriendly User Behavior
    VIII.  Useful References and Documentation
 REPORT #2: How to Use [a specific resource]
       I.  Table of Contents
      II.  Access and Usage (or How to Start and Stop)
     III.  Editing Commands and File Structures
      IV.  Documentation, Location, and Cost
       V.  Sample Solutions and Significant Problems
      VI.  Appendices
           A. Special Characters and Terminal Settings
           B. Similarities and Differences from Site to Site

Pickens [Page 3] RFC 519 Resource Evaluation June 1973

Future Test Groups

 A number of projects are envisioned for future resource evaluators
 and include:
 1. Complete evaluation of APL at MULTICS and UCSD with comparison to
    the On-Line System (OLS).
 2. Investigate BASIC in depth, network wide.
 3. Evaluate other symbolic manipulation programs such as REDUCE.
 4. Summarize all games available in the network.
 5. Find and evaluate specific application programs such as ZOG or the
    weather data base at CCA.
 The projects undertaken will be determined in part by local
 interests.  But a serious effort is being made for reports to
 accompany each evaluation.

Conclusion

 Good results have been obtained from the two test groups thus far.
 Although composed of novices, as far as network familiarity is
 concerned, the groups have been able to produce data and reports
 which benefit the network community.  The reports run the gambit from
 poor to excellent, but even the poorer ones have generated results by
 motivating more knowledgeable system personnel to find time to write
 the report in the "right" way.  All data and reports compiled by
 these groups are available to interested network users.  In addition,
 any information or documentation or manuals which might fit into the
 framework of the MINIMAN is requested from the network community.  As
 this information begins to be collected, the network may truly start
 to become a resource sharing network.
       [ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
       [ into the online RFC archives by Nasser M. Akhtar 2/98 ]

Pickens [Page 4]

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