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The simulation of time sharing systems

By Norman R. Nielsen

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 10 No. 7, Pages 397-412

The development of new large scale time-sharing systems has raised a number of problems for computation center management. Not only is it necessary to develop an appropriate hardware configuration for these systems, but appropriate software adjustments must be made. Unfortunately, these systems often do not respond to changes in the manner that intuition would suggest, and there are few guides to assist in the analysis of performance characteristics. The development of a comprehensive simulation model to assist in the investigation of these questions is described in this paper. The resulting model has a general purpose design and can be used to study a variety of time-sharing systems. It can also be used to assist in the design and development of new time-sharing algorithms or techniques. For the sake of efficiency and greater applicability, the model was implemented in a limited FORTRAN subset that is compatible with most FORTRAN IV compilers. The use of the simulation is demonstrated by a study of the IBM 360/67 time-sharing system.

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