This memorandum is based on the assumption that MIT will be given a transistorized IBM 709 about July l960. I want to propose an operating system for it that will substantially reduce the time required to get a problem solved on the machine. Any guess as to how much of a reduction would be achieved is just a guess, but a factor of five seems conservative. A smaller factor of improvement in the amount of machine time used would also be achieved.
The proposal requires a complete revision in the way the machine is used, will require a long period of preparation, the development of some new equipment, and a great deal of cooperation and even collaboration from IBM. Therefore, if the proposal is to be con- sidered seriously, it should be considered immediately. I think the proposal points to the way all computers will be operated in the future, and we have a chance to pioneer a big step forward in the way computers are used. The ideas expressed in the following sections are not especially new, but they have formerly been con- sidered impractical with the computers previously available. They are not easy for computer designers to develop independently since they involve programming system design much more than machine design.