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The Battle Behind the Scenes

By Robert L. Ashenhurst

Communications of the ACM, Vol. 51 No. 1, Pages 33-34

Like Stuart Lynn, I had been a department editor for CACM before becoming its EIC. In fact, the "Computer Systems" department was initiated by Kelly Gotlieb during his editorship. He sent me a letter enclosing a submitted paper that he thought should be published in CACM; however, it fit no existing department. It would appear in the September 1965 issue: Reilly and Federighi's "On Reversible Subroutines and Computers that Run Backwards." A subsequent contribution, of considerably more lasting significance, was published in that same issue: E.W. Dijkstra's "Solution of a Problem in Concurrent Program Control." Indeed, the paper initiated a whole new subdiscipline in the computer operating systems area. Eventually, "Computer Systems" became the department for software/hardware systems papers such as those that now appear in Transactions on Computer Systems (TOCS).

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