Amdahl Education - In A Class By Itself
by Alan Sadowsky

Those of you who are familiar with my views on education, particularly TPF education, know that my primary motivation for starting this newsletter three years ago was to provide a vehicle through which we could inform and educate the TPF community. While most will agree that experience is the best teacher, most of our present job responsibilities don't provide an opportunity for us to learn much about the "other" areas of TPF. Part of what I hope to accomplish with ACP·TPF Today is to fill that gap, and to give our readers a small taste of the diverse specialties that comprise the TPF operating system structure. With a better understanding of the various facets of TPF, not only does a person gain a greater appreciation for the other support groups in their organization, but also obtains a clearer choice in career path. You can't decide to become a Coverage programmer if you don't understand what that entails.

Through the dozens of articles we've had the pleasure to publish, we've highlighted Operations, Applications development, C/370 language, TPF/DF and TPF/DC, System Generation, System Implementations, ESA Architecture, IEF & CASE tools, ALCS, and a score of other educational topics. The articles continue to come into our office, and we will certainly continue to publish them, but I have to be honest and say that next in line behind hands-on experience is formal classroom training. And that is what I would like to talk about this month.

I recently had the opportunity to attend a two-week Amdahl class on TPF Structure and Flow. On a 1-to-10 scale, I have to tell you that this class is a 10. The curriculum is designed for the entry-level TPF systems programmer, and structured in such a way that concepts lead to details, and details lead to hands on examples. Two Amdahl instructors, Harvey Showyin and Les Moore alternate between topics bringing a unique combination of knowledge and presentation styles to the classroom. The course material is extensive in content, and very well prepared. Add to this Control Program listings, tables, and full system dumps, and the student has all of the material necessary to get right down to the "bits and bytes" of TPF3.1 internals. Admittedly, there's a lot to cover in just two weeks, and class is a full 9 to 5 session every day, but the breaks and lunches are well planned, and the day does go quickly.

With several years of systems already under my belt, I was a bit concerned about how much I would actually get out of the class. Well as embarrassed as I may be to admit this, I picked up an incredible amount of knowledge and insight into things I thought I was already quite versed in. I attribute this to Amdahl's direction to teach not only how something works, but why it works as well. Both Harvey and Les have more years of experience then they may care to admit, and bring to the classroom a wealth of knowledge, experience, and "war stories" which not only enhance their efforts, but bring an occasional touch of humor to the class.

Topics include: an Introduction to the TPF operating system, Applications Interface, Macro Decoder, Database Management, DASD and Tape handling, I/O operations, System Error Processing, IPL, System Restart and Cycle Scheduler, Tightly and Loosely Coupled processing, CPU loop, Storage Management, VFA, and more. Amdahl's next offering for this class is in October. If you're currently in systems or coverage and would like to smooth out the rough edges, or if you're looking for a solid introduction to TPF System internals, I can personally say that this class will satisfy those requirements.

Amdahl is not the only company offering TPF education. IBM and several other vendors and firms provide a host of TPF classes on many different topics of interest. As opportunities arise for me to attend and review these classes, I'll pass along my thoughts. In the mean time, be sure to check ACP·TPF Today for current class offerings and educational opportunities.