This Day in History
March 8, 1955
Harbinger of Early Operating Systems, Whirlwind’s Director, is Demonstrated
Computer pioneer Douglas Ross demonstrates “Director” for MIT's Whirlwind computer. Director, which presaged operating systems for computers, gave instructions to the 4-year-old, 4,500 vacuum tube computer. The operating system resided on paper tape, and was a precursor to Job Control Language operating systems widely used in subsequent mainframe computing systems. Whirlwind’s design influenced many significant computing innovations, including IBM’s Semi-Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) computer and business and minicomputers of the 1960s.