Terry Gliedt, Resume

This pretty well sums up my career at IBM. This is lots more than most might be interested in, but there are SO many of us ex-IBMers now. Maybe the audience of interest is larger than I expect.


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IBM: Boulder, Boeblingen, Rochester, Hursley

I stayed on with IBM for twenty-three years before taking one of the generous "buy-outs" offered in recent years. IBM was good to me. In my career I lived and worked in Europe twice and my jobs were always challenging and I had a remarkable amount of autonomy. I tell my kids that IBM paid me lots of money to do a job that I would have probably paid IBM to let me do. I feel pretty lucky about it all.

So here's a short summary of some projects I worked on at IBM. Much of this is old and worn technology now, but at the time it was a lot of fun.

VM/370 System's Programmer (1970s)

This was back in the days when the source for the system came on the tape and system programmers provided their own fixes. System paging too much? - rewrite the paging algorithm! A great deal of the advanced functionality in the VM products came first from IBM's system's programmers. Ahh, going into work at 3 or 4 in the morning - it brings tears to my eyes. See the original IBM presentation materials for VM/370 here.

Boeblingen Development Lab (1973-1975)

Very early in my IBM career, I was offered a chance to work at the development lab near Stuttgart, Germany, and they paid me to go there! It only took 3-4 microseconds to tell them I'd go. I worked in a VM tools group supporting DOS/VSE VSAM development. Before I left, we had written special simulation code for a new line of IBM machines - the 43xx machines. Pretty nifty at the time!

Software Development Tools (1978-1981)

After returning from Germany we decided it was time to move closer to family in the Midwest - so I transfered to IBM at Rochester, Minnesota where I worked on MVS/TSO systems to develop a wide range of tools for the developers of the brand new S/38.

After several years on MVS, I led the technical effort which converted the entire development environment to VM. This was a larger social change than a technical change. I learned that it's pretty tough to convince 5-600 people to change how they work - regardless of the merits of your case.

SNA on CMS (1981-1983)

Again, the lure of Europe beckoned in the form of an opportunity to work for IBM U.K. at its Hursley development lab. There, a small team worked on SNATAM - a project to create a fully functional SNA subsystem for CMS. SNA is defined by a language called FAPL and our project was to "compile" this code into a fully functional SNA system.

My role was to write a CMS multi-tasking subsystem and debugger for the project. I'm sorry to report the CMS product never did get mutli-tasking support from this.

One of the more notable "accomplishments" at the lab had nothing to do with SNA. My wife and I noticed early-on that we didn't speak the language as well as we expected. This led to a great deal of fun as we collected and wrote the "English" to "American" Dictionary.

IBM BackBone (1983-1987)

After returning to Rochester from England, I joined a project whose goal was to greatly improve the reliability and speed of the VNET (this is the IBM internal network - used to transfer gigabytes of data daily between hundreds of machines world-wide). Working with Pete Hilton (then with IBM U.K.) we designed and implemented a new version of RSCS used on the ten "backbone" machines scattered around the world. Much of this work eventually was put into the RSCS product. I received an Outstanding Contribution Award for my efforts.

Advanced Technology Group (1988-1992)

At this point I joined a project consisting of 20 software programmers and 20 hardware engineers whose mission was to "improve productivity 10-100 fold". This was a very stimulating group - the mixture of software and hardware people proved a potent combination. The group was responsible for many innovations and changes at Rochester - both in the AS/400 product as well as the working environment.

My group chose to try to improve programmer productivity. The thrust was to convince Rochester development to use Object Oriented Programming combined with a powerful workstation running Unix. This process took years to invent, then implement and convince Rochester management to pour millions into the change. Once again, I found myself in the core group trying to convince hundreds of developers to move from their comfortable VM environment to Unix. The process continues today - there are thousands of hardware and software developers using these core technologies:

I received a Distinguished Contribution Award for my efforts on this project.

Postscript: I was told later that the results of our work were well known to some of the venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. They're amazed at the changes in the way Rochester behaves both in absolute and in IBM relative terms. Some even claim that the change in Rochester's way of doing technical work was the cause of the demise of DEC's VAXen. This seems a bit strong, but it does provide validation that I was part of something very significant.

Distributed Debugger (1992-1993)

I was team leader for debugger which could debug code running on disparate systems. This gave me the opportunity to do a lot of work in C++ and designing objects. The work was tightly coupled to changes being made for new hardware and software systems being done at the time. The environment was highly volatile as both the requirements and hardware details changed on a weekly basis.

In the early 1990s IBM had gone through several "downsizing" efforts and I decided to take IBM up on it's generous offer. If they were going to pay me money and provide other benefits, who was I to say "no". So in July of 1993 I left IBM to see what the world had to offer.