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    [Great Britain] n. The room where all the Sun workstations live. The humor in this term comes from the fact that it's also... VIEW ENTIRE DEFINITION


  •  View Definition: TMRC 

    TMRC


    /tmerk'/ n. The Tech Model Railroad Club at MIT, one of the wellsprings of hacker culture. The 1959 `Dictionary of the TMRC Language' compiled by Peter Samson included several terms which became basics of the hackish vocabulary (see esp. foo and frob).

    By 1962, TMRC's legendary layout was already a marvel of complexity (and has grown in the thirty years since; all the features described here are still present). The control system alone featured about 1200 relays. There were scram switches located at numerous places around the room that could be thwacked if something undesirable was about to occur, such as a train going full-bore at an obstruction. Another feature of the system was a digital clock on the dispatch, board, which was itself something of a wonder in those bygone days before cheap LEDS and seven-segment displays (no model railroad can begin to approximate the scale distances between towns and stations, so model railroad timetables assume a fast clock so that it seems to take about the right amount of time for a train to complete its journey). When someone hit a scram switch the clock stopped and the display was replaced with the word `FOO'; at TMRC the scram switches are therefore called `foo switches'.

    Steven Levy, in his book `Hackers' (see the Bibliography in appendix C), gives a stimulating account of those early years. TMRC's Power and Signals group included most of the early PDP-1 hackers and the people who later bacame the core of the MIT AI Lab staff. Thirty years later that connection is still very much alive, and this lexicon accordingly includes a number of entries from a recent revision of the TMRC Dictionary.