DoIT’s Family Tree

The Division of Information Technology today provides technology services that broadly address the diverse needs of the UW-Madison community. Prior to DoIT’s creation in 1994, three autonomous technology organizations served the campus — Administrative Data Processing (ADP), the Madison Academic Computing Center (MACC), and UW Telecommunications. The three units were of varying sizes and had unique missions and separate reporting lines. They often delivered similar services to overlapping user populations.

Administrative Data Processing

Administrative Data Processing delivered mainframe computing, office automation, and other services to UW-Madison. ADP was created in 1972, following the merger of the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin State University System. Two computing groups joined to form ADP, which was dedicated almost exclusively to developing, supporting, and operating mainframe teleprocessing applications. ADP focused on providing IT services to academic and business administrators and to faculty, staff, and students for their administrative needs.

By 1976, ADP had more than 150 employees and was supporting 115 terminals on campus, the largest number in the Big Ten at the time. ADP was a pioneer in providing online access to data; in fact, UW-Madison was one of the first universities to make all of its administrative systems available online.

By late 1979, ADP provided minicomputer-based word processing and other office automation tools. That service would grow from five workstations at ADP and one at UW Publications to almost 1,800 campuswide by the late 1980s. A wide range of office automation products, including electronic mail, spreadsheets, and network access, was made available on those workstations. In the 90s, ADP helped users plan, acquire, and install local area networks to maximize the power of thousands of microcomputers on campus.

In 1980, ADP and UW-Madison Libraries took the first steps toward library automation by installing computer terminals and wand readers in the Reserve Book Room. Over the next 14 years, the Network Library System — with its online public catalog, circulation, and other systems — would become an indispensable research and instruction tool for students and faculty.

As the wealth of information available worldwide on the Internet became more accessible, ADP and other campus organizations joined forces in 1992 to establish WiscINFO, a UW-Madison campuswide information system.

In the 70s and 80s, ADP began to rely less on procedural languages such as COBOL for writing program code and moved instead to languages that offered an expanded role for users, many of whom began doing their own reports and queries against institutional databases.

In the late 1980s, the Integrated Appointment Data System, or IADS, was a major achievement for ADP and the administrative offices that guided its development. IADS integrated personnel-related information from accounting, payroll, personnel, and budget, and made it easier for campus staff (most of whom were not programmers) to use the University’s administrative data.

After two years of intensive development and three semesters of pilot testing by ADP and other campus organizations, automated student registration launched at UW-Madison in the fall of 1989. This eased course registration for students and automated much of the registration process for departments and University administrators.

In 1990, an ADP initiative called User Access to Data enabled University staff to bring administrative data to their computers for use with spreadsheets and other software tools. As the consolidation into DoIT neared, ADP and its 350 employees were building on the organization’s successes in distributed computing and client/server computing.

Madison Academic Computing Center (MACC)

MACC provided a wide range of computing services to support research, instructional and outreach programs at UW-Madison.

MACC began as the Numerical Analysis Laboratory (NAL) in the early 1960s. A few years later, the University of Wisconsin Computing Center (UWCC) was established in Unit 1 of the Computer Sciences and Statistics Building, the first university building in the U.S. dedicated to computing.

With the UW System merger in 1971, the UWCC was renamed and reorganized as the Madison Academic Computing Center. Early computers included a Control Data 1604 in Computer Sciences and a Control Data 3600 in Sterling Hall — both for statistical analysis and for use by Computer Science students. A Burroughs 5500 machine was also acquired. These early machines were used to run a software program called STATJOB, created at UW-Madison for statistical analysis. Researchers wrote their own FORTRAN programs, punched the code on card decks, and submitted the cards as batch jobs with half-day turnaround.

In the early 1970s, MACC took delivery of a Univac 1108 computer, greatly expanding its instructional and research support and enabling local development of software for graphics, mail, text editing and phototypesetting. DEC Vax machines installed in the 1980s further expanded campuswide computing support, and the advent of microcomputers and their applications in the 70s and 80s brought computing power to campus desktops.

In the early 1980s, MACC created the Micro Information Center, one of the first organized support centers for microcomputers at a U.S. university. In June of 1984, MACC opened its Micro Outlet, enabling the campus community to learn about the emerging technology of personal computers and purchase equipment at substantial discounts.

MACC began support of campus email in 1978, and the service took root as useful network connections became more available. MACC was an early adopter and innovator of Internet technology, beginning with its participation in ARPAnet. MACC staff contributed to the development of Internet standards and conventions. MACC was a leader in developing network software for Unix and VMS and played a key role in NSFnet, a backbone network joining six regional supercomputing centers under the aegis of the National Science Foundation.

By the early 90s, MACC was supporting reliable email service for UW-Madison students on a cluster of RS6000 servers. MACC’s staff numbered about 110 in 1993-94. The quality of its services for the research and instructional communities set a high standard for DoIT to follow.

UW Telecommunications

UW Telecommunications played a key role in the efficient transfer of information which became essential to the research, instruction, and service roles of the University. At the time of its merger into DoIT, Telecommunications had a staff of about 40.

Telecommunications traced its origins to UW-Madison’s conversion to a Centrex phone exchange system in about 1962 and became the University’s main provider of billing and administration for the campus’s phone services.

Telecommunications was home to the University’s staff of phone operators, who also provided service to the City of Madison, Dane County, and State government. Through the 1960s and 70s, operators used microfiche technology to locate information for callers. One of the services offered by Telecommunications as early as 1980 was transmission of messages by fax.

In the early 1970s, Telecommunications began providing operator service for University Hospitals, which included hallway and radio paging in addition to the regular telephone service. Later in 70s, general campus radio paging became a regular service of the operators.

When UW Hospital moved to its new facilities in 1979, Telecommunications played an important role by designing and supervising the installation of the hospital phone system, consisting of more 3,000 stations.

Telecommunications guided the creation of the nation’s first university-enhanced 911 emergency answering service, which displayed the location of emergency calls for campus police dispatchers. The University’s e911 system required a change to Wisconsin statutes to expand coverage beyond county government 911 systems to the University Centrex system.

As information transfer became critical in the early 1980s, Telecommunications initiated a series of informal meetings that evolved into an ad hoc committee appointed by the Chancellor to study the roles of Telecommunications, ADP, and MACC in providing information technology services for the campus. This included managing data transfer across the campus and between the campus and the world.

Between 1986 and 1988, a UW-Madison Ad Hoc Wire Committee studied communications wiring alternatives. It recommended a combination of inter-building and riser fiber optic cable, horizontal twisted pair “telephone wire” for data and voice, and expansion of ADP’s and MACC’s coaxial networks for video distribution.

From 1986 through 1992, Telecommunications led a $13.6 million project to upgrade UW-Madison’s communications cabling. This project replaced all telephone wire in 240 buildings with telephone and data outlets, added video cabling, and interconnected buildings and the floors of buildings with fiber optic cable for high-speed data transmission. This project provided the infrastructure for the local and campus-wide networks and allowed much faster and less expensive installation of network services. The fiber optic backbone design and cable from this project is still being used by UW-Madison’s 21st Century Network.

DoIT created in 1994

To provide more cohesive technology services, reduce duplication of effort, and promote budget efficiencies, UW-Madison called for a merger of the campus’s technology organizations in 1993. When completed in 1994, the consolidation was broadened to include the campus’s printing services.

Today, DoIT employs more than 700 permanent, limited-term and student staff. Its annual budget is about $70 million, with about 75 percent of its revenue coming from direct charges to customers. For an overview of DoIT’s services, see the DoIT Profile at www.doit.wisc.edu/about/