The ACME system at Stanford University Medical School

Stanford Medical School

The ACME project provided time-shared real-time data acquistion and control services to research laboratories in the Stanford Medical School. The Principal Investigator was Dr. Joshua Lederberg and Gio Wiederhold was the director. Contributors to the software and operations included Bob Bassett (tape management), Gary Y. Breitbard (compiler), Linda Crouse (clinical applications), David Cummins (communication system), Robert Flexer (displays and data transmission), Regina Frey (file system services), Klaus Holtz (instrumentation interfaces), Jane Hu (statistical library), Lee Hundley (real-time data acquisition), Gerald F. Miller -- now Joaquin Miller (file system and scheduling), William Sanders (operating system), Steve Weyl (database), Voy Wiederhold (manual and education), Jane Whitner (statistical library).

ACME was located in a newly constructed room (now S-101) in the Medical school. It operated there from 1966 to 1973. It used a IBM 360-50 system as its main computer, an IBM 1800 for data acquistion and distribution, and a home-built network for terminals in the laboratories.

On the first floor we have a terminal lightbox from the ACME Computer System. Terminals were slightly modified IBM 2741's, essentially Selectric typewriters, and instrumentation interfaces, build to order, but following locally developed standards. Communication was hard wired, using shielded twisted-pair cables throughout the medical school, and connected by the operator on request using the switch-console shown below. Dedicated modems were used in some cases, as for a link to the Aero-and-Astro department in the Durand building, and some mobile access for demonstrations was accomodated through accoustic modems. Direct connection the telephone lines of customer equipment was forbidden under FCC regulations untill 1971.
The software was designed by Gio Wiederhold and its use was taught to physicians and researchers by Voy Wiederhold.

Long film clip with the Intro and ACME Segment (avi format, 9 minutes, 107Mbytes) (or source (VOB format), 300Mbytes) copied from a 1969 IBM 16mm film on Laboratory-based Automation.
We also have on-line a section from the film pertaining to Syntex and the conclusion (avi format, 4 minutes, 17Mbytes) (or its source (VOB format) 171Mbytes).
The thirty-five years preceding the transfer to DVD caused the green and blue colors to fade.

About 40 pictures extracted from the film are on-line.

Reports and documents regarding ACME can be found in Dr. Lederberg's Archive by entering "ACME" or more specific terms.


Return to Floor 3 with thePrevious display IBM 360 exhibit or return to Floor 1 exhibits of the Previous display Stanford Historic Phototour.
Go all the way back to the beginning of the photo tour