QUARTERLY REPORT Jan-March 1977: L. BURNARD

This quarter I have kept a diary.

1 1900 Activities

The Oxeye Users Guide was published on 24th January and I gave a presentation of the package at one of Susan's Computing in the Arts seminars.

A new SPITBOL compiler arrived on 17th February. This version operates by default in a fundamentally different way from previous ones. The choice was between leaving existing programs un-modified but increasingly inefficient and carrying out a substantial amount of re-writing.

As far as OXEYE was concerned, various modifications had to be made to improve the packages portability in any case, so I chose the latter alternative. At the request of the original Eyeball's designer, I wrote an Oxeye/Eyeball interface and incorporated a Fortran program into the system. The new version (1.1) of Oxeye was put up on 30th March. Copies are being distributed to sites as distant as Swansea and Minnessotta.

With the new SPITBOL compiler there came a large normal mode file, which proved to be very comprehensive documentation. I added a chapter on the macro facilities etc. local to Oxford, and (after some problems with exclamation marks) a clean copy of this page document was produced on the PDP8 printer, from which manuals are currently being made by the Print Unit.

2 2900 Activities

I have been using the Putney machine extensively this quarter.

IDMS is not yet available at Bath, though it should be after Easter.

I ran the IDMS installation test successfully on 18th January, and used the SORT and DATAVALIDATE modulfiS of the DMUS successfully a few days later.

There then followed a week of lost blocks during which the Project Team showed itself remarkably well-ter.ipered. By 9th February however I had successfully compiled my own schema and DMCL for the pilot IDMS project. This is to be a study of the last 15 years of observations of swans on the Thames however, since most of the data is still stored in several shoeboxes of grubby notebooks, I wrote a program to generate some test data. The first attempt to store any of it in the IDMS database failed because I had made the page size too small (128 bytes as opposed to a suggested l-l\ thousand), but at the second attempt 25 of my synthetic swans fluttered home to roost before a logical error in my schema design caused run-unit abortion..Using IDMS is a complicated business so I spent the next week or two on a MAC terminal writing an SCL macro to make it less of'a feat of memory. This was successful up to a point, though much remains to be understood. The whole application program ran successfully on MAC on April 4th.

0ther Activities

I presented a less than revolutionary paper on the allocation of transient budgets at a User group meeting on 12th January.

I attended an IDMS User Group meeting at the Ministry of Agriculture, Fish and Food on February 2nd, where there was a presentation on the Data Dictionary System. Mr. T. Bourne (of GPCD S and TS) subsequently came to Oxford to discuss the DDS launch and agreed to consider any application of the package we might find as a candidate for his assistance.

Possible future applications of IDMS were discussed with Dr. Shaw (Radcliffe Science Library), Mr. Wright (Forestry) and Miss Pickbourne (Genetics).

I attended a somewhat dispiriting seminar on the DMUS run by the 2900 Applications Committee and a presentation by Dr. Coles (Northwick Park) on an automated SNOP system for coding histopathological data at the Regional Health Authority,