The Birth of JOIN: Chapter 1

Problem

AD 1962
Stratosphere
"Zarya-1, Zarya-1, I can't hear you very well. I feel fine. I'm continuing the flight.....”
The encrypted VHF band they communicated on quickly became useless as the converted ballistic missile passed over the horizon.  With no one to talk too, he sat in silence and looked out the tiny window. The view was indescribable.  Ninety minutes later, a farmer and his daughter saw a strange man in an orange suit walking across a paddock asking to phone Moscow.

Washington
“Sir, we have confirmation that another R-7 ICBM rocket was launched from Tyuratam this morning and completed an orbit and successful re-entry.
“And?”
“There was a man on it.”
“Damn it! First Sputnik and now this.  I will tell you this. We WILL be first to the moon!”

NASA
“Have you figured out the parts list for the Lander yet?”
“Give us a break!  One landing strut takes 216 parts and 103 different tests… and that’s one of the simple bits.  I don’t know how we are going to do it… This is obviously the most complicated project anyone has ever done, and quite frankly we are struggling.  We need help on this!

Approaches

East Coast: USA
This was no ordinary meeting.  Three of the worlds largest companies and there representatives had gathered to discuss the “problem”.  After 5 hours, it was concluded that they would join forces to build a computer system that could manage the task.  Not one person in the room knew how it could be done.  But that didn’t matter.  No one on earth did either.

West Coast: USA
It wasn’t cramped, but it was not spacious either.  The single window was set high in the wall restricting the natural light to mornings and afternoons.   A man worked at the simple desk with pen and paper.  He was muttering something about “keys” and “sets”. 

“Good afternoon Edgar”
“Is it already? Oh… Hi Allen”
“In the ‘zone’ again?”
“I think so. It seems so easy… maybe I am completely wrong.”
“Can you try it on the DEC?”
“Not yet.  It’s just theory at the moment.”

Print | posted on Wednesday, October 26, 2005 4:24 PM
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