Virtual Storage Personal Computing

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Virtual Storage Personal Computing (VSPC) was a service offered by IBM in the late 1970s and early 1980s.[1] From a data terminal, users could run both interactive processes and batch jobs on remote computing hardware (located in IBM service centres) to which they were connected e.g. by telephone lines using modems. Among the programming languages offered were VSPC variants of BASIC, FORTRAN, APL and PL/I. VSPC became obsolete following the invention of the Personal Computer as computing power became available to the individual user locally.

In a campus setting, VSPC offered users the ability to create and submit programs to an IBM (or compatible) mainframe without using punched cards, though the programs were still submitted as card images, and programs so submitted needed all the usual IBM Job Control Language (JCL) statements to access the mainframe batch submission and resource allocation processes. Output from a job submitted through VSPC could be routed to a printer, or back to the user's VSPC account, though in general the output would be too wide to easily view on a VSPC terminal.

Although IBM Selectric terminals were supported (with special typeballs for APL programming), most VSPC interaction was through half-duplex IBM 3270 (and compatible) terminals. To use VSPC for APL programming, required a special terminal which implemented APL symbols in addition to the usual EBCDIC characters.


  1. ^ In Germany, the service was announced in October, 1979 according to an article in Computerwoche dated 1979-10-19.