OVERVIEW OF THE COLLECTION
Title: SHARE Numerical Analysis Project Records
Collection Date(s): 1964-1970
Extent and Forms of Material: 5 cubic feet; (14 boxes)
Creator: SHARE ( Society to Help Avoid Redundant Effort)
Abstract: Collection documents the SHARE Numerical Analysis Project, 1964-1970, which evaluated numerical-mathematical type SHARE programs. These programs had to be highly accurate in order not to waste expensive computer time. SHARE was the Society to Help Avoid Redundant Effort and was created to promote the free interchange of information for advancing the effectiveness of use of IBM System/360 or IBM 7000-series computers. The collection consists of correspondence, abstracts, reports, and punch cards.
Collection Number: AC0498
Processing Note: Processed by Jodi L. Bunnell (intern) and Atsushi Akera (intern), June 1995; supervised by Craig Orr, archivist.
INFORMATION FOR USERS OF THE COLLECTION
Conditions Governing Access: The collection is open for research use.
Physical Access : Collection located at off-site storage.
Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use : Copyright held by the Smithsonian Institution. Collection items available for reproduction, but the Archives Center makes no guarantees concerning copyright restrictions. Other intellectual property rights may apply. Reproduction permission from Archives Center: reproduction fees may apply.
Preferred Citation: Title and date of item, Share Numerical Analysis Project Records, dates, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, box number X, folder number XX, digital file number XXXXXXXX
IN-DEPTH INFORMATION ABOUT THE COLLECTION
Administrative/Biographical History : SHARE(Society to Help Avoid Redundant Effort) was formed in 1955, when users of International Business Machines (IBM) 701 computers in Los Angeles were anticipating the delivery of the IBM 704 computer. At this time, IBM relied on its computer customers to program the machines they purchased. “The only software that came with the hardware were copies of the user's manual, a crude assembler, a loader (non-linking), and a few utility routines” (Armer, 122). Both the manufacturer and the customers needed a library of mathematical programs, called subroutines, for the computers to perform their intended tasks. To produce them individually was prohibitively expensive; the cost of developing a system to use a machine, “and a set of routines to go with that system, was usually in excess of a year’s rental for the equipment” (Armer, 124). SHARE's organizers felt that this could be accomplished most efficiently through cooperation among IBM users.
The primary purpose of SHARE, according to a 1968 SHARE conference program, was “to promote the free interchange of information for advancing the effectiveness of use of [IBM System/360 or IBM 7000-series computers]. A further aim is to reduce redundant effort among system users in the preparation of computer programs for general use." SHARE sought to standardize machine language and certain machine practices, eliminate redundant effort connected with computers, promote inter-installation communication, and develop effective communication between users and the manufacturer. By mid-1956, forty-seven “installations” or organizations with an IBM computer were SHARE members, and 300 machine-checked 704 programs were placed in an IBM maintained library for member use (Bashe, 349). SHARE members later wrote and evaluated programs for the IBM System/360 machines, a product line announced in 1964.
SHARE groups called “projects” organized, evaluated, and transmitted the information; all participation was on a voluntary basis. SHARE held two general meetings a year, at which all active projects held one or more meetings. The expansion from a focus on program creation to evaluation represented a more mature phase for the organization.
The Numerical Analysis Project was one of those groups. During the SHARE general meeting in March 1964, members participating in the Numerical Analysis Project of the SHARE applications division decided to organize and carry out an extensive project to evaluate numerical-mathematical type SHARE programs, which had to be highly accurate in order not to waste expensive computer time. Programs were selected from the SHARE-3000 series, the SSP (Scientific Subroutine Package), and the CPL (Contributed Program Library). The co-chairmen of the evaluation committee assigned review tasks to participating members, who could accept or refuse assignments. Their review time was to be three to four months, and authors mailed their reviews to the co-chair. The chair of the Numerical Analysis Project's Program Evaluation Committee from 1965 to 1968 was Hirondo Kuki at the University of Chicago's Computing Center. After he resigned the chairmanship in 1968, Robert E. Funderlic and Joseph S. Crowell of the Union Carbide Corporation, Nuclear Division, became co-chairs; Funderlic resigned from his position later that year.
Each program was reviewed twice. Programs were evaluated extensively for reliability and accuracy, as well as timing, size, features, design, and documentation provided by the program's author. Reviewers submitted written reviews with documentation of their testing and review process.
SHARE was the first computer user group in the United States, and became a model for a number of other user groups, including GUIDE (formed in 1956) and USE (formed in 1955). Before groups like SHARE, most programmers did very little sharing of programs of general applicability. The idiosyncratic manner of machines accounted for this in part. Inoperability was a factor as well; a program written for one machine would require tedious re-coding to operate on another (Bashe, 348).
Although computer technology has changed considerably since its inception, SHARE still exists (www.share.org), and has offices in downtown Chicago. It has a full-time staff and more than 2,000 member companies that include international corporations, representative government agencies and educational institutions.
Armer, Paul. “SHARE--A Eulogy to Cooperative Effort.” Annals in the History of Computing 2, no. 2 (April 1980): 122-129.
Charles Babbage Institute. “SHARE Marks 40th Anniversary.” Charles Babbage Institute Newsletter 17, no. 3.
Bashe, Charles J., Lyle R. Johnson, John H. Palmer, and Emerson W. Pugh. IBM's Early Computers. (MIT Press Series in the History of Computing.) Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1986.
Scope and Content: The collection is divided into four series: Series 1, Correspondence, 1964-1970; Series 2, SHARE General Program Library, 1964-1967; Series 3, Numerical Analysis Project, 1964-1970; and Series 4, Research Papers, 1968-1969.
Series l, Correspondence, 1964-1970 , consists of incoming correspondence and collected SHARE files. The series is further divided into two subseries: Subseries 1, General and Administrative, 1965 and Subseries 2, Member Organizations, 1964-1970.
Subseries 1, General and Administrative, 1964-1970 , consists of administrative correspondence, arranged by subject and date. It includes communications with program authors, computer administrators at universities and businesses, and advisors, as well as lists of persons who attended meetings. There are samples of SHARE form letters and notes on a possible merger of SHARE and GUIDE.
Subseries 2, Member Organizations, 1964-1970 , is comprised of correspondence to the sixty-six SHARE member organizations that participated in the Numerical Analysis Project. This series originally contained empty folders for nine other organizations; they are listed at the end of the container list.
Series 2, SHARE General Program Library, 1964-1970 , consists of abstracts and reports of computer programs that were evaluated by SHARE Numerical Analysis Project Program Evaluation Committee members. This series is further divided into three subseries.
Subseries 1, Abstracts , 1964-1967, contains programs as they came in from their authors, 1964-1967. These are short descriptions of SHARE programs, designed for browsing in the program library; more detailed descriptions are found in Subseries 2, Reports, 1964-1965. They are arranged by their 4-digit program numbers, SHARE Secretary Distribution (SSD), Scientific Subroutine Package (SSP).
Subseries 2, Reports, 1964-1965 , describes SHARE programs in a more fully detailed format than in the Abstracts of Subseries 1. The numbers in these correspond, in turn, with program review numbers in Series 3: Numerical Analysis Project, Subseries B. The reports are filed by their four digit program numbers, which as in Series A: Abstracts, are nearly chronological, and form a nearly complete set.
Subseries 3, Punch Cards , 1968-1969, consists of one folder of IBM computer punch cards used to store and load computer programs of this era. This group of cards was distributed in 1968-1969. They may contain SHARE programs or administrative records.
Series 3, Numerical Analysis Project , 1964-1970, consists of reviews submitted by program evaluation committee members and spans the years 1964-1970. There are also evaluation guidelines and records of Numerical Analysis Project (NAP) meetings.
Subseries 1, Administrative, 1964-1968 , consists of six folders of program evaluation guidelines and reviews received, pending or rejected, and letters that transferred the NAP chairmanship and co-chairmanship in 1968.
Subseries 2, Reviews , 1965-1970, comprises the bulk of the series. It consists of reviews of programs submitted by program evaluation committee members, 1965-1970. The reviews are arranged chronologically; folder titles include program numbers that correspond to those represented in Series 2, SHARE General Program Library, Subseries 2, but do not represent a complete corresponding set.
Subseries 3, Meetings Notes, 1968-1969 , consists of five folders of materials from meetings in Los Angeles, Atlantic City, and Chicago. Materials include correspondence, handwritten notes, rosters of attendees, and conference programs. They are arranged chronologically.
Subseries 4, Program Reviewing in the SHARE Numerical Analysis Project , 1968, consists of six folders of status reports from the Numerical Analysis Project Program Evaluation Committee from February 10, 1968 and October 4, 1968. The reports exist in four forms: non-annotated; computer printout; published form; and annotated by R. E. Funderlic, Computing Technology Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and by J. S. Crowell.
Series 4, Research Papers, 1968-1969 , consists of four papers submitted to SHARE from members on computer programming topics. They are arranged alphabetically by the primary author's last name. A note clipped to the papers indicates that all the papers except that by Dodson, et. al., were submitted to SJCC (possibly connected with the Joint Computing Conference) in 1969.
System of Arrangement: Collection is arranged into four series.
Series 1, Correspondence, 1964-1970
Custodial History: The records were transferred from the Computer History Project, formerly the Computers, Information and Society Division (now known as the Division of Information, Technology and Society) at the National Museum of American History, to the Archives Center in September 1993.
Related Archival Materials: At Archives Center, National Museum of American History: Paul Armer Collection 1949-1970 (Collection #323); Grace Murray Hopper Collection, 1944-1965 (Collection #324); B.H. Worsley Collection, 1946-1959. (Collection #237); Computer Standards Collection, 1958-1978. (Collection #310); Data Processing Digest Collection, 1955-1974. (Collection #235); Computer Oral History Collection, 1969-1973, 1977. (Collection #196), At the Charles Babbage Institute, University of Minnesota: SHARE Records and Proceedings, 1955-1992; Joan M. Winters Papers, 1966-1990; Herbert S. Bright Papers, 1924-1988; Francis V. Wagner Papers, 1946-1985; Smith, R. Blair, oral history interview, 1980; and Paul Armer oral history interview, April 16, 1973. At the Los Alamos National Laboratory Archives: Los Alamos National Laboratory Records, 1945-1978.
The OCLC name authority file shows this as an acronym for the Society to Help Avoid Redundant Effort (in data processing], but in 1956, Paul Armer said "SHARE is a name and not a set of initials" (Armer, l 123).