The Origins of GENESYS, the General Engineering System (Part 2)

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Computer Conservation Society

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Brian Shearing

Last November’s talk about GENESYS, the GENeral Engineering SYStem commissioned by the Ministry of Public Building and Works in 1968, ended with the contract let and a team with experience of two prototypes ready to start work.

The second half of the talk explains the building of the system. It compares methods for constructing a substantial piece of software in 1970 with techniques available today. The talk also attempts to position GENTRAN, the language at the heart of the system, in the historical context of the evolution of programming languages.


14:00 – Login and networking

14:30 Main presentation, Q&A and networking

17:00 – Close

This webinar will be hosted on Zoom


GENESYS, the GENeral Engineering SYStem, was commissioned by the Ministry of Public Building and Works in 1968. It was a way of writing and using engineering software that worked, without change, across all major mainframes of the day, something that unfortunately could not be said for software written in the various dialects of FORTRAN available then.

The ministry also commissioned the establishment of the GENESYS Centre which opened in 1972 and was charged with promoting, teaching, developing and expanding the applications that ran under the system. The speaker was chief programmer of the team that built the central system. The seminar is the first of two, the second being next season, and explores what the system was like, what its influences were and how it came to be commissioned.

Our events are for adults aged 16 years and over.

For overseas delegates who wish to attend the event, please note that BCS does not issue invitation letters.


Computer Conservation Society

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Organiser BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

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We are all responsible for ensuring technology-led change is safe and positive for everyone in society. At BCS we’re committed to meeting this responsibility under royal charter.

That’s why we set the highest standards of professionalism and best practice in the industry, share knowledge, and develop skills and capability tuned to our evolving digital world.

We’ve been supporting the technology industry since 1957 and our 73,000-strong membership spans 150 countries. Every member actively promotes IT professionalism and we provide them with career development opportunities and bring the community together to address the professional, ethical and economic challenges facing technology today.

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