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Project Genie

Project Genie was a computer research project started in 1964 at the University of California, Berkeley. Project Genie was formed by J.C.R. Licklider, the head of DARPA at that time, as a smaller counterpart to MIT's Project MAC.

Project Genie pioneered several computer hardware techniques, such as being the first commercial time-sharing system which allowed end-user programming in machine language. Project Genie also pioneered the use of separated protected user modes, memory paging, and protected memory. Concepts from Project Genie influenced the development of the TENEX operating system for the PDP-10 and Unix (Unix co-creator Ken Thompson worked on an SDS 940 while at Berkeley). The SDS 940 mainframe would be used as the hardware for Douglas Engelbart's OnLine System at the Stanford Research Institute.

Project Genie was conducted by Professor Robert Evans; notable students that participated in the project were Mel Pirtle, Butler Lampson, Peter Deutsch, Chuck Thacker, Wayne Lichtenberger, and Larry Barnes. Using a modified Scientific Data Systems SDS 930, Project Genie students added user and operating system protection modes and mapped the 16K word address space into 8 2K word pages. They also wrote a custom time-shared operating system for the SDS 930; the design later became known as the SDS 940. When Project Genie ended, members of the project formed the Berkeley Computer Corporation (BCC). Although a failure, BCC employees became the core of Xerox PARC in 1970.