Computer science alum reflects on his position in developing the Online in Nova Scotia – Dal News

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Computer science alum reflects on his position in developing the Online in Nova Scotia – Dal News

Dan MacKay (BCS’89) remembers New Year’s Day, 1983 effectively. He was in the Sculpture Court at the Dalhousie Arts Centre and about to make history by aiding carry Nova Scotia on the internet for the first time.

The usual ceremonial thrives would not do for these kinds of a specific occasion. 

“We had our gear set up in the Sculpture Courtroom, and the premier was there, and as a substitute of cutting a ribbon, I experienced him link two parts of ethernet with each other — an outdated variety of ethernet known as 10base2,” recollects MacKay, who was a crucial participant on the specialized workforce that created the Internet in Nova Scotia and across Canada. 

When the working day the staff formally related Nova Scotia to the transcontinental community stands out as a spotlight in MacKay’s head, there were lots of fascinating and hard times during the task. 

“Every working day there was a new problem,” the Faculty of Computer Science alum suggests. “We ended up creating and increasing the velocity of the online across Canada, and I acquired to talk to tech people at educational facilities, libraries and companies all across the province about remarkable new installations and enhancements.”

MacKay also played a purpose in producing the technological method that syncs time throughout every clock, computer system and observe connected all above the globe. 

MacKay pictured in 1991 in the course of an World wide web hookup at Park Check out faculty in Bridgewater, N.S.

Every little thing was new

There is no speculate MacKay was included in constructing the world wide web. From a youthful age, he was immersed in the globe of engineering many thanks to his two older brothers, a person of whom graduated a member of the Course of ’75 with a diploma in physics.

“By the time I was 5 many years previous, I had a property physics, chemistry and engineering lab to enjoy with,” states MacKay. “When I was just scarcely a teenager, I bought to attempt out programming on paper tape on the new Intel 8080 chip in my brother Michael’s lab.”

Making the World-wide-web in a time in advance of it was widely offered came with its possess set of troubles.

“Everything was new,” he says. “The extremely 1st routers we started off performing with have been built in Burnside utilizing incredibly experimental software and had all types of serious challenges that made them unusable. The following batch was from the Usa but had software program built in Ontario which had in no way been connected to the Internet right before. The tools we experienced for diagnosing problems with the world wide web were extremely primitive — they still are — and so we obtained really fantastic at reading through the nuances of what applications we experienced.”

When requested how the Web has transformed considering that individuals early times, he replies: “It would be less complicated to doc the items that have not transformed! That is e-mail and the fundamental protocol, TCP/IP.” 

MacKay states the biggest revolutions to the Web due to the fact its inception are the development of the Planet Large Net and advances in Online-large look for engines.

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A shifting sector 

This earlier January, MacKay held a occasion in the Goldberg Personal computer Science Developing to mark the 40th anniversary of bringing Canada online.

The celebration inspired MacKay to do the job on a job documenting the record of regional general public, free, backed, and egalitarian obtain to the Online by means of corporations like The Chebucto Group Net and C@P and a piece of software package referred to as C-Suite.

When requested about the upcoming of the World wide web and its evolution, MacKay sees some important new shifts underway.

“That solution has improved drastically in the previous several months, and it will keep on to do so. It appears to be a great deal of our life will be mediated by synthetic intelligence which will range from administration duties to innovative healthcare consultations.” 

Although the World wide web continues to evolve, one particular thing is selected: MacKay’s contributions to the tech business and connecting Nova Scotia to the world wide web will always be remembered and celebrated.