| HistoryDepartment of Informatics - PUC-Rio


1. Introduction

It is difficult to narrate the history of an institution. It is even more difficult to do so when you have so much to say. what to count? How to structure the narrative? The periods in which we divided it were identified somewhat arbitrarily, but even so, they correspond to periods with their own characteristics that characterize them well. We believe that the set gives a good perspective on the history of the Department of Informatics (DI) at PUC-Rio and the role played by its members – professors, employees and students – to make it what it is today.

2. Genesis

It all started when PUC, due to its excellent reputation, was chosen to host the first computer installed in Brazil. According to what the late Prof. Cardoso of the DCMM, who at the time was the president of the CNPq, a consortium was formed formed by the CNPq, IPqM (Navy) and Itamaraty, which joined forces to bring to PUC a Burroughs Datatron B-205 computer, the first computer to operate productively. in Brazil.

It was a respectable machine, weighing just over a ton and containing about 1,600 double-valve triodes and a huge array of solid-state diodes, plus resistors and capacitors. This all consumed close to 30 kVA of energy. In order to keep a cool head and calculate correctly, the CPD had PUC’s only air conditioning system. Apparently this system continued to work well, which indicated the pleasant temperature of the chapel, which later, and for many years, occupied the place where the monster was installed.

The amount of memory in this computer was – by the standards of the time! – fantastic, 4000 words of 10 decimal digits, about 16K. The operations were very fast, an addition consumed 0.1 milliseconds, this is when we were able to produce code capable of operating in the fast band of the machine, otherwise it was 1ms. As printed output, you could choose between a hammer typewriter or an ultra-efficient IBM tabulating printer capable of printing 60 lines at 80 numeric characters per minute. This tabulator was, in fact, an electromechanical computer – controlled by relays – and programmed by panel. A panel is a kind of board made of insulating material and filled with holes. Through wires placed in these holes, contacts between relays were established and, in this way, the behavior of the machine was established.

The set of equipment cost about a million dollars at the time, today probably something close to US$ 10 million. To use it, you had to make an appointment, sometimes several days in advance. To debug programs, you walked the machine over the program’s instructions, one by one, and meanwhile no one else could use it. The results of the execution of each instruction were checked in the countless light bulbs that had the control panel. Well, any modern palmheld gives 1,000 to zero on that machine.

The technical staff of the CPD was made up of PUC students, except for the director, at the time Prof. Hélio Drago Romano, and the maintenance technician, Manoel Martins. For some time, Dr. Jacques Cohen, one of the few postgraduates existing in Brazil at that time. Thanks to him and Fr. Amaral, many of us took the first programming course at the CPD at PUC-Rio. We learn the basics of computing in a much more frustrating way than we do today, although today’s students don’t believe it. There was a professor, Theodoro Oniga, who taught operations research classes, which included the discussion of mathematical riddles. A few survived the course. Among these, very few ventured to continue in the computing metier, at the time something for people who were a little bad in the head. Further on, Prof. Sérgio Machado Rezende, at the time a student of the electronic engineering course at EPUC, started to take care of the B-205 programming courses.

Several programs were developed at the CPD. Some of the most significant had the leadership of prof. Jacques Cohen. For example, for the company Furnas, we developed, among other systems, the Simulation of the Operation of Hydroelectric Reservoirs and the Simulation of the Cargo Flow. The programs ran for hours on end. We worked in shifts. Those who spent the night could sleep on a kind of stretcher set up behind the computer. If there was a problem, for example a valve or resistor burning, an alarm with a hellish noise would sound, waking anyone from their well-deserved sleep. At 10 pm, one (the only) security guard from PUC passed by and announced that he would release the dogs. We then had to decide who would sleep behind the machine, while the others were going to have dinner somewhere.

There I met Carlos José Lucena, in 1963. He and Carlos Valdesuso, Raphael Chrisóstomo Barbosa da Silva and others made up the DPO – Operational Research Department, which was a part of the CPD. Among the novelties invented by the group, an Algol compiler prototype stands out. Since the card reader couldn’t read alphanumeric cards, they invented a way to read twice the mass of cards, once from the top and once from the bottom. Then it was just a matter of processing what had been read to recompose the alphabetic characters… I believe it would make a good article to describe this program.

Around 1965, several Brazilian universities, including PUC-Rio, received IBM 1130 computers. These computers, already with low-integration circuits, had 8K of real memory and a 5Mbyte disk, and came with two extremely interesting things: a very simple operating system and a Fortran compiler. This made it possible to teach programming in a more comprehensive and painless way. Such a business opportunity – yes, we were entrepreneurs! – was observed by Prof. Lucena, Luiz Carlos Siqueira and José Roberto Ribeiro dos Santos, who decided to offer a course in numerical calculus through the newly created Department of Mathematics, then directed by prof. Antonio Cesar Olinto. When I returned from a year and a half period spent on an extension course in Germany, I found, at the end of 1967, this course in progress and quite successful.

During my absence, Antônio Carlos do Rego Gil and others from IBM negotiated with PUC the installation of an IBM 7044 computer on a lending basis. For this, the RDC – Rio DataCentro was created. The 7044 had 32K 36-bit words (about 180K bytes) and operated with a memory cycle of about 6 microseconds. It was from the same family as the 7094 computers still intensively used in American universities, although more modern machines already existed, such as the 1130 (very small) and the first models of the IBM 360, among others. PUC had the largest scientific computing center in Brazil.

To learn how to operate this computer, in the winter of 1967 (January to March) Prof. Lucena, Wilfried Probst and Luiz de Castro Martins, at the time an IBM analyst. There they met Prof. Donald Cowan with whom Prof. Lucena established a close and fruitful friendship, which resulted in numerous published articles and an intense collaboration with the CSG – Computer Systems Group, which became known at the University of Waterloo as “The Brazilian Connection”, because there were so many Brazilians who studied there. or worked.

Through the relationship with Prof. Cowan established a connection with prof. Calvin Gotlieb of the University of Toronto. It also received a significant number of Brazilian graduate students.

With the arrival of the IBM 7044 computer, a new phase began. It became possible to teach programming to all CTC students, introducing the Fortran IV language, already in the first credit period of the Basic Cycle. How small we felt when we entered an auditorium with about 200 students! Yes, in 1968 Basic Cycle classes were given in auditoriums. Each class had about 200 students and, in general, there were two parallel classes. Despite the masses of students in the classroom, the impression is that they learned as much as the students of today. We then had the difficult task of convincing students at that time that programming was important for any engineer and that an engineer who didn’t know how to program would eventually have difficulty finding interesting work. And they bravely faced our ICC and Numerical Calculus courses. After that, they happily solved their calculation problems using slide rules, ignoring the existence of computers for many years.

To give students an idea of ​​what was going on inside the machine in detail, we developed a simulator of the old B-205, giving them the chance to produce programs in absolute language. PUC-007 was quickly born, taught for a few years at ICC. How fun it was to have students write fractional integer (two numbers) to floating point conversion routines in this simulator! Even so, many students have come to like Computers — at least that’s what they tell me when they see me.

3. Heroic Phase (67 to 70)

One of the stories of the Baron of Münchhausen (one of the best tellers of lies) says that he was riding in a field when he fell into a swamp. As there was no one to help him and the marsh was already swallowing the horse, Münchhausen decided to help himself and the horse. He tightened his legs around the horse as hard as he could and began to pull the laces of his boots even harder, until he was able to pull them both out of the marsh. From this story comes the expression “bootstrap”, widely used in computing and which, in general terms, means developing a thing using this same thing as an instrument. crazy? What nothing – totally obvious. The creation of the DI Masters program was essentially a bootstrap process. Due to circumstances – difficulty in bringing visiting professors – the program was created with himself.

As early as 1967, still in the Department of Mathematics, some of us, including prof. Lucena, Furtado, Lins, Sérgio Carvalho, Luiz Martins, I and a few others were at the same time studying and starting to teach a new master’s degree at PUC-Rio. The name of the program came after a long discussion, to decide whether we should Brazilianize the American title Computer Science or the French word Informatique. Informatique won, as we considered the most comprehensive term. Thus, the first neologism in the area was born. It was a master’s program where one taught the others, and everyone tried to learn everything new together.

There were very curious events, such as, for example, a student defending his master’s thesis with a “supervisor teacher” who had not yet defended his/her supervisor as his supervisor. Bootstrap phenomena. Without these phenomena nothing would have been achieved. Courage was to carry out such a project and fiber was to ensure that it did not descend into mediocrity, but rather became strong and respectable. The Department of Informatics was created at the end of 1967 and began to operate formally in March 1968, with prof. Lucena, and Prof. Olinto as its first director. In March 1968, the first regular master’s class began and also the first ICC classes – Introduction to Computer Science and Numerical Calculus, now mandatory for all students of the CTC Basic Cycle.

By 1969, finally, all ID faculty had completed their master’s degrees, some of us with credits earned from courses at the University of Waterloo. We could move on to the second stage, that of obtaining a doctorate. At the time, there was still no requirement for the postgraduate faculty to be formed by doctors. But, in the view of Prof. Olinto and Prof. Lucena, this should be the goal to be achieved by DI in the shortest possible time. The first to go for a doctorate abroad was Sérgio Carvalho in 1969. In 1970 it was the second wave and so on. We recruited replacement forces among our newly graduated masters, as the master’s degree was already operating with satisfactory regularity and was already producing people with a good level of training.

4. Master’s Consolidation Phase (70 to 75)

During a good part of the period from 1970 to 1975, many of the DI professors were abroad studying for their doctorate. In the end, almost the entire faculty of ID was formed by doctors. This period was also marked by major transformations in the area of ​​Information Technology. The era of the “National Informatics Policy” began in Brazil. The academic community already felt strong enough to form a scientific society, the SBC – Sociedade Brasileira de Computação. The Department of Informatics grew and consolidated itself.

Around 1970, DI and RDC obtained financing that allowed the construction of the RDC building, which started to be used by both in 1972. The installation of an IBM 370/165 computer was also negotiated with IBM, one of the largest computers available at the time. Once again we were in the lead in the country, perhaps in Latin America, in terms of installed computing capacity. The credibility and reputation acquired both by the master’s course and by the RDC certainly contributed to the positive outcome. We received students from all corners of Brazil and also from Chile. A good part of the initial faculty of the main Brazilian universities obtained a master’s degree in the Department of Informatics at PUC-Rio.

The postgraduate programs in Science and Technology in Brazil were made possible by José Pelúcio Ferreira, then at the BNDE (now BNDES), through the FUNTEC that he created and managed. PUC-Rio started around 1964 the first Master’s program in Mechanical Engineering, among others, under the auspices of FUNTEC. From what I have been told on several occasions, this program is the first master to graduate in Brazil.

Some unfathomable reason for me led to the closure of FUNTEC. As for financial resources, the closing of FUNTEC, before an alternative was created, provoked a critical situation, causing in 1973 the postgraduate professors at PUC-Rio went without receiving salaries for more than half a year. The problem was resolved with the creation of FINEP (FNDCT) and the approval of the “FINEP Project”, which supported the entire CTC at PUC-Rio for over a decade.

Also in this period, the government decided to rationalize the use of computers in government administration and in state-owned companies. For this purpose, CAPRE was created. At the same time, professors from the Electrical Engineering department at PUC-Rio developed a data concentrator for SERPRO. With this equipment, instead of punching cards, tax documents could be transcribed directly onto magnetic tape. This concentrator and the Patinho Feio computer developed at EPUSP motivated the proposal to develop a national minicomputer. The G10 project was then started, which aimed to create the hardware (FDTE/EPUSP) and software (Informática/PUC-Rio) for this computer. It was one of the first “industrial” projects in which the Department of Informatics participated. The project showed that it was possible and interesting to combine teaching, research and development. Unfortunately, due to the lack of a long-term vision and immediate interests (having a source of resources to face the lack of payment of salaries), the management of the project was increasingly emphasizing development, to the detriment of teaching and, of course, , from the search. A cliché created at that time was that “everything the industry does not do is research”. Detractors soon commented: “planting potatoes is research since there is no industry that does it”.

In 1975, after the return of professors who had left to obtain their doctorate, the Department of Informatics firmly opted for the academic side of teaching and research. As a result, the G10 project, together with a significant part of the faculty, was transferred to the newly created COBRA, a state-owned company whose mission was to develop and sell computers and their basic software. Eventually the G10 project evolved, becoming the COBRA-500, which had several units sold in the country. This, without a doubt, was one of the first successful examples of spin-off creation, even if involuntary and somewhat traumatic.

At the beginning of the “computer age” in Brazil, training in the use of machines, with rare exceptions, was carried out by the manufacturers themselves. The courses in general were weak and did not deal with concepts. They had the reputation of being “brainwashing” courses. In other words, they taught what was strictly necessary to be able to use the hardware and software sold by the suppliers to their satisfaction. This took Prof. Luiz Martins, then director of the RDC, to create the extension course in Systems Analysis at the RDC. Later, when Prof. Luiz Martins transferred to CAPRE, he created P15 (project 15) the Data Processing Technology course. Both courses were independent of specific equipment and focused on concepts and training rather than mere training. Later, the extension course in Systems Analysis was transferred to CCE – Central Extension Coordination, and became the flagship of that body. It can even be said that it was this course that made the CCE possible. To achieve greater scope, this course was transformed much later into a specialization course in Systems Analysis, Design and Management and, recently, it was split into two specialization courses, one on analysis and design and the other on project management.

During this period, the “National Informatics Policy” was established, which aimed to make Brazil independent and self-sufficient in the manufacture of small computers. It is worth remembering that microcomputers still did not satisfy the needs of business users. Unfortunately the policy had some detrimental effects. The ban on importing small, low-cost equipment made applied research and development in software engineering enormously difficult.

Finally, the academic community considered itself strong enough to create the SBC – Sociedade Brasileira de Computação – with the mission of aggregating and defending the interests of research in Informatics.

5. Doctoral Consolidation Phase (75 to 82)

The master’s program was already mature and operating well, there was a significant demand both from future researchers and from professionals who wanted to retrain. Thanks to the FINEP project, CTC’s financial problems were solved. Thus, once the faculty was now properly qualified, DI was able to start the doctoral program.

Stimulated by the experience gained abroad with research and thesis writing, all of us dedicated ourselves to producing technical articles and establishing ties with other national or foreign institutions. Through these relationships, among others, several collaborations were consolidated, mainly with Germany, through an agreement with the GMD, and also with Canada, through an agreement with CIDA, which also involved universities in the Northeast. During these agreements, we had the pleasure of hosting many visiting professors who stayed here for several months, sometimes years. Certainly, the agreements contributed a lot to make the Department of Informatics mature.

Gradually we started to have more and more papers accepted in international conferences and journals. The creation of a series of Monographs on Computer Science by the Department of Informatics contributed greatly to consolidating the emphasis on publications. The monographs were distributed to several Brazilian universities and, those written in English, also to an extensive list of foreign universities.

Before the widespread use of word processors and laser printers, articles were written using a typewriter. Figures were drawn in India ink on tracing paper. The person typing the articles was a typist with no knowledge of English, and had to retype several times, each time correcting some mistakes and introducing several others. Getting to a stencil with good quality text was a huge battle between author and typist, at the end of which author and typist hated each other. Computer to help? No way. Laser printer? It was yet to be invented. XEROX machines existed, but few existed on campus, all of poor quality and difficult to operate. In summary, it could be said that reaching the end of the process of getting an article ready was an indicator of its quality. After all, no one would invest so much effort and adrenaline to give a good finish to an article with poor results…

With the FINEP project, it was possible to establish a good library, having a significant collection, a significant number of subscriptions, and supported by a program of exchange of technical reports with a large number of good foreign universities. We started by convincing RDC to hand over its collection of IBM manuals to the Department of Informatics. From there, on a modest scale, was born what soon became one of the best computer libraries in the country. With a lot of effort and some breaks in continuity, we managed to keep it operating satisfactorily until today.

And what about buying books? What books were published? We had catalogs, but very little information. With what resources? We had the FINEP project, but it was limited. There were individual grants from CNPq, widely used for the purchase of books. But there was no Amazon and importing anything was a tremendous difficulty. You had to resort to a company that charged the “book dollar”, about twice the dollar at the parallel exchange rate. It was then that a book peddler appeared. He was worse than an Encyclopedia Britannica salesman, brought several books to be examined, and didn’t leave the victim’s office until he had managed to sell at least one book. The most incredible thing was that he knew exactly the subjects of interest to each teacher and how much he still had in the aid account.

Participating in international congresses was also difficult, almost impossible. Thanks to some agreements, notably with IBM, the Department of Informatics had a few resources available so that we could travel to conferences. In general, however, it was a very thorny task to convince a patron (IBM, CNPq, CAPES or even PUC) to support the travel of a researcher to a conference in which an article was accepted.

6. Initial phase of micros (82 to 95)

Around 1980, the FINEP project model began to show signs of exhaustion. The CTC requests, previously easily accepted by FINEP, began to become more difficult to be approved. The requirement for technical and financial reports had become more and more frequent. At one point, an attempt was made to partition the CTC project into a series of departmental projects. Going out to present an article at an international conference has become a nightmare. Anyone who wanted to travel had to go to Banco do Brasil in order to make a remittance to a bank close to their destination, and this remittance was limited to US$2000.00 per head.

It was necessary to appeal to different funding agencies to guarantee the survival of the ID and the integrity of the CTC. At the time there was a company, ConsulPuc, established in the 5th. floor of the RDC building, whose mission was to serve as a legal entity responsible for projects carried out by faculty members. ConsulPuc was a conventional private company (Ltda), which made it difficult to enter into agreements with state-owned companies. To create a more effective alternative, José Pelúcio Ferreira and prof. Lucena created the Padre Leonel Franca Foundation (FPLF) in place of ConsulPuc. FPLF’s mission is to mediate projects between faculty members, PUC-Rio and companies. But, as it is a foundation, the FPLF is a non-profit entity and is subject to fiscal and operational legislation that ensures transparency in its operations and, in addition, facilitates the signing of agreements with state-owned companies. One of the side benefits of the FPLF is that it transfers significant resources to PUC, in addition to enabling the creation, updating and maintenance of laboratories, as well as the hiring of researchers.

The first microcomputers began to appear. Usually still big gadgets, no hard drive, little memory and even less software. Through individual grants, some of them were purchased for the DI. They were all in one room. Later, a space was “stolen” from the library, and then a room a little larger than the first was selected to accommodate what had been acquired so far.

The Internet was still in its infancy. The FPLF had a computer that was connected by a private telephone line to a computer at the LNCC – National Laboratory for Scientific Calculation. This, in turn, was connected to a network capable of communicating with computers in some of the universities in other countries. Every time you tried to use this network, you had to pray fervently that everything would work out to your satisfaction. Even so, it was possible to use this system to participate in cooperative activities, such as refereeing articles submitted to international conferences (as early as 1983). It was a great novelty at the time, as before that everything was resolved by mail, culminating in a face-to-face meeting in some city abroad. Evidently, the lack of resources always made it difficult, or even prevented, our participation in these meetings. These difficulties made it almost impossible for our professors to serve on program committees at international conferences.

Over time, the Brazilian research network has improved. CNPq donated Sun equipment to several universities in order to connect them. It began to be possible to use electronic mail, exchanging messages with countless other teaching and research institutions around the world.

With the intermediation of the FPLF, the first research and development projects emerged. These projects showed that it was feasible to reconcile teaching and research with development, ensuring high cross-fertilization. The projects resulted in articles, dissertations, theses and even useful products. The projects also allowed the installation of modern and very sophisticated laboratories. Finally, the projects made it possible to hire students to participate in development activities involving cutting-edge technology. Thus, the university-company interaction formula was discovered that would not conflict with the interests of teaching and research as had occurred in the G10 project.

7. Stage of involvement in the Information Society (95 to 99)

The years 93 and 94 marked a major change in society’s relationship with computers. Before that time, some people could have microcomputers at home or in the office. These computers could be networked, usually slow and not always reliable. However, the local networks were hardly interconnected to other local networks. Transparent networking existed only in universities and research institutes. The Internet had to be made public.

Brazil quickly followed this trend by creating the Internet Steering Committee. In 1995, the public Internet began to be created in Brazil. Initially it was treated as something for aficionados. But, as time went by, their insertion in society took on an avalanche feel. The consequence was the creation of a huge market for services that were previously unthinkable. Could anyone imagine today’s world of teaching, research and development without e-mail, without e-business, without file transfer, without Google, without Amazon and the like? Today, it is possible for anyone anywhere on the planet, provided they have a computer and a sufficiently reliable and fast connection, to be as up-to-date as someone else in an advanced teaching and research center. Well, about 10 years ago none of this existed!

The mass use of computers brought with it a significant cheapening of equipment. In the early 1990s you could buy an advanced microcomputer (a 386!) for about $6,000 or more. Today, much more powerful equipment can be purchased for just over US$1,200.00. This, in turn, has made computers almost ubiquitous. Rare are the middle class people who today do not have access to one. Consequently, new forms of business organization and new ways of organizing teaching, research, development and leisure emerged. Today, most companies operate via the Internet, and PUC-Rio is one of them. Secretaries can be in distant locations from the people they are working for, doubts are answered via email or ICQ, documents are made by hand in a matter of a few hours and with the authors possibly spread around the world. Articles, theses, etc. are produced and reviewed involving people tens of thousands of kilometers away, enabling the virtual advisor. Examples of programs and projects, assignments, lecture notes, assignments and exam notes are available through the course pages. None of this was imaginable about 8 years ago (for reference, this is 2006).

In reaction to a CNPq edict and on the initiative of José Alberto Sampaio Aranha and prof. Luiz Martins, the Information Technology Department entered, in 1996, a competition for the selection of projects for the institutionalization of incubators of information technology companies. The Infogene project was selected. Now we had the problem of where to find it. The ITUC had been trying to create an incubator for a long time; Instituto Genesis even managed to obtain funds to build the building, but did not have enough resources to make it operational. With the support of the FPLF, it was then proposed to host Infogene in the Genesis incubator and, in exchange for a “loan” of physical space, the FPLF undertook to complete the remaining works. Today the Genesis incubator is recognized as one of the best in the country. A sign of his maturity is that he has been suffering for some time from the “PUC disease” – lack of physical space to grow.

The conduction of development projects was also expanded and improved. In fact, looking for projects was made mandatory due to the total termination of the FINEP project. At the beginning, the DI faculty looked with some suspicion on the few thematic laboratories that carried out projects in partnership with companies. The first two were ICAD and TecGraf coordinated by professors Bruno Feijó and Marcelo Gattass. Later on, it began to be seen as an excellent source of funds for expenses that the PUC traditionally does not see how to cover. The DI laboratories were divided into two categories, teaching and research and thematic ones. The latter must be self-sustainable, that is, costs such as, among others, the acquisition and maintenance of equipment and software, payment of personnel linked to the laboratory, construction or maintenance of the physical space, etc., must all be funded with resources that the laboratory itself generates. In addition, a small part of such resources must be transferred to the department, enabling the evolution and maintenance of teaching and research laboratories. This formula also proved successful. Today, the department has thirteen thematic laboratories and perhaps there could be more, if we didn’t also suffer from “PUC’s disease”.

Thus, we currently have excellent thematic, teaching and research laboratories. There are more than 600 computers in total. The facilities are good, although not very spacious. All this achieved with the resources generated by projects and extension courses coordinated by DI. Hopefully we can maintain and improve all of this for many years to come.

There were many research and development projects carried out in our laboratories. One of them, led by Prof. Lucena, explores the potential of communication through the network as an instrument of distance learning. The result was the Aulanet system, duly implemented at CEAD – Distance Learning Coordination – where it is used by several courses available over the Internet. It was also one of the motivations for setting up the company Edu@Web. It was born as an incubator at Instituto Genesis, graduated, and is currently operating independently of PUC. Another example of the success of this teaching, research and development model, as it not only motivates students, but also facilitates the creation of spin-offs, without, however, compromising the volume and quality of research results in the form of articles, dissertations and theses.

8. Current phase, web search (from 99)

In recent years the Internet has consolidated itself, being fully imbricated in society. It is also clear that a significant portion of computing applications will in some way be based on the Internet. However, there are numerous doubts about the ways to develop systems, many of which are inherited from the pre-Internet era. In addition, the Internet has enabled new ways of organizing applications and has turned developers into nerasthenics to catch up on lost time. The deadlines for the delivery of products are increasingly tight, the quality requirements and the complexity of the applications increasing. How to attack and solve these problems?

Solutions could be proposed based on lengthy theoretical studies. Another way would be to conduct experiments and try to extract the supporting theories from them. By following the experimental line, one can, once again, partition it into unlinked experiments (toy problems) or experiments linked to a real-world problem with the potential to generate a spin-off (pre-operational versions). Of course, the second option is much more attractive to a young person. Then there is the problem of how to do all this without compromising training deadlines, number of graduates and research quality. The success of this option can be attested by the number of spin-offs generated from work developed in our laboratories.

In the university environment and, in particular, at PUC-Rio, professors and researchers increasingly seek to induce their advisees to publish, helping them in the writing of texts, and establishing a cooperative work scheme, in which each student helps others . Through a continuous demand for results, which are disseminated to others through seminars established according to a published schedule and, mainly, through constant guidance and friendly treatment, it has proved possible to achieve the aforementioned objectives. This is probably the secret of having been able to gather so many students in our laboratories, many of them working on unpaid projects. Always with the participation of students, we seek to achieve academic productivity of good quality, to be attested by the conferences and journals in which the articles are published.

9. Epilogue

Much more could be said. But this account could not claim to exhaust the subject. It is intended merely to recall how the Department of Informatics at PUC-Rio began, and to outline the context in which its story unfolded (and is expected to continue), conditioned by the advances and surprises of informatics itself, and by the challenges faced. by academia and industry in our country.

The first computer for scientific purposes installed at a university in Latin America, the Datatron Burroughs B-205, was inaugurated in 1960 by the then Archbishop of Milan, Giovanni Baptista Montini, who would become Pope Pablo VI.

Read the full story in the article:

Margarida de Souza Neves, Silvia Ilg Byington and Arndt von Staa. The B-205 at PUC-Rio: History and memory of the first computer for scientific purposes at a Brazilian University. 2nd SHIALC – Symposium on the History of Informatics in Latin America and the Caribbean, part of the XXXVIII CLEI. Medellin, Colombia, 2012. (SHIALC 2012 Presentation, PPT, 14 MB)

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