What is CTSS?
The Compatible Time-Sharing System (CTSS) (Corbato et al. ) was designed at MIT as an experimental time-sharing system. It was implemented on an IBM 7090 and eventually supported up to 32 interactive users. The users were provided with a set of interactive commands that allowed them to manipulate files and to compile and run programs through a terminal.
The 7090 had a 32-KB memory made up of 36-bit words. The monitor used 5-KB words, leaving 27 KB for the users. User memory images were swapped between memory and a fast drum. CPU scheduling employed a multilevelfeedback-queue algorithm. The time quantum for level i was 2 * i time units. If a program did not finish its CPU burst in one time quantum, it was moved down to the next level of the queue, giving it twice as much time. The program at the highest level (with the shortest quantum) was run first. The initial level of a program was determined by its size, so that the time quantum was at least as long as the swap time.
CTSS was extremely successful and was in use as late as 1972. Although it was limited, it succeeded in demonstrating that time sharing was a convenient and practical mode of computing. One result of CTSS was increased development of time-sharing systems. Another result was the development of MULTICS.