What was the first computer on campus? —Matt Basch ’08, M.S. ’10
At UMBC, computer science had its roots across the university in departments. In the early years, students didn’t major in computer science. Instead, students who explored the discipline were biology majors using technology to study fruit flies, psychology majors crunching numbers from their experiments, and budding mathematicians working out complex equations.
Frank Elmore ’73, biological sciences, remembers vividly the arrival on campus of a room-sized Univac 9400 computer in 1972. “The computer ran one job at a time,” Elmore recalls, adding that it could take a day to get the data processed.
Far from the isolation that being locked into one’s screen can bring today, the UMBC computing lab was a busy place, in that era, filled with students who had to bring their work in person.