Historical Innovations

Dual VAX Innovation

The DEC VAX 11/780 was an early timeshare interactive computer at Purdue; it worked well, but it reached its limits in the academic environment too quickly. Through collaboration of George Goble, Joe Rogers, Curt Freeland and Mike Marsh, two CPUs were tied together through hardware to make the VAX more powerful. George Goble modified the operating system so that it could run two processors in parallel. Once the Dual VAX was in place, ECN was able to expand its computing power a great deal at a minimal cost, making it one of the most efficient innovations in ECN history.

VLSI Design Software

Bill Croft wrote a software package to do VLSI, a large scale integrated circuit design software. Bill created this software for Professor Steve Bass.


Originally developed by George Goble and Bill Croft, PNET, a networking protocol for UNIX, allowed users to log in, perform commands, and many other functions remotely. This protocol lasted into the 1980s and was used to build the original EE/Potter network. PNET was decommissioned after TCP/IP was implemented.

Solar Eclipse Webcam 1994

Solar Eclipse Webcam 1994

Solar Eclipse Multicast

Dave Curry and George Goble had the idea to broadcast a solar eclipse over the Internet. Dave was experimenting with software that would allow live transmissions of video frames on the web, and coincidentally, George had access to the needed equipment at the time. Dave patched a camera into a Sun Workstation and broadcast for about an hour. While monitoring who viewed his multicast, Dave noticed that many people from other countries witnessed this early multicast, when web serving was in its infancy.
Pictured: Dave Curry, Dave Chasey,
Kent DeLaCroix (kneeling), Curt Freeland


This network based database system helps administrators to manage accounts across Purdue University. This system helps maintain machines across campus and coordinates any changes.

ECN Queue System

Site specialists appreciated the introduction of the queue system. Before the queue, it was difficult to keep track of who had said what about which, etc. Site specialists used to get followed everywhere they went so that it was difficult to get anything done. On the way to fix a paper jam, people would ask questions and tell them things and it was impossible to remember and easy to get distracted from whatever the task at hand was. The Queue System helps site specialists stay organized and it gives users more security in knowing that their problem won't be forgotten.