Compatible Time Sharing System

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What Does Compatible Time Sharing System Mean?

The Compatible Time Sharing System (CTSS) was developed at
the MIT Computation Center in the 1960s and 1970s. The design of the CTSS
represents the beginning of the idea that operating systems can work on
multiple threads or “multitask.”


Techopedia Explains Compatible Time Sharing System

The original Compatible Time Sharing System was backward-compatible with the Fortran Monitor System. It worked on an IBM 7094 mainframe computer with two 32K banks of core memory. The second bank was used for timesharing implementation. CTSS was connected to printers, punch card readers and tape drives.

Time sharing means the system can allocate resources for two tasks or
processes at once. This was a major advance, since earlier mainframes
and computer systems only worked on one process at a time, in a linear
fashion. Time sharing and multi-process and multi-thread systems paved
the way for the highly advanced operating systems of the last three

Eventually, designs like CTSS gave way to more modern MS-DOS systems in the 1980s and on to modern Windows and OSx systems in use today.


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Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor
Margaret Rouse
Senior Editor

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.