Syracuse University

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This article is about Syracuse University's relationship with APL. For more complete information about Syracuse University, see Wikipedia.

Syracuse University was the second institution outside IBM (after SUNY Binghamton) to have APL installed,[1] and a major user of APL in the 1970s and 1980s. Its Minnowbrook conference center is the site of most APL Implementer's Workshops. Notable APL programmers at Syracuse include professor Garth Foster and alumni Jim Brown and Roy Sykes.

APL use at Syracuse began in late 1967, when about 20 professors and graduate students used a terminal connected by phone to connect to IBM's APL\360 installation at the Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights. By 1968, thanks in part to the efforts of Garth Foster[1], the university ran APL on DOS/360 for four hours a day. In 1969 the system was ported to SUOS (the Syracuse University Operating System), a derivative of MFT, and expanded to full-time access, with 34 terminals. In the early 1970s the system was again changed, this time to STSC's APL*PLUS. This installation was extended with a File Subsystem and many other custom features. It was highly successful: by 1978 the system had 7,300 active accounts, ran 30,000 tasks/month, and stored 5,400 workspaces and 4,000 files. In addition to its use in teaching courses and student assignments and projects, the system was used to generate exams, in administration such as student billing, and by students for a ride sharing service and an apartment and room rental guide among other applications. In March 1980 the system was moved to SHARP APL, maintaining support for these applications. SHARP had been chosen over APL.SV and DEC's APLSF because of its better compatibility with the old system, and over a newer version of APL*PLUS because of IPSA's better support offer.[2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Ray Polivka and Jon McGrew. "A Quote Quad Interview: Garth Foster". Quote Quad Volume 26 Number 1. 1995-09.
  2. Dana E. Cartwright and Phyllis A. Kent. "SHARP APL Syracuse" at IPSA '80.

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