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Calvin Gotlieb fonds Série organique
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University of Toronto. Department of Computer Science

In 1984 Professor Gotlieb took over from Martin Molle the responsibility for organizing the numerous colloquia and seminars held each year in the Department. Drawing on his extensive network of contacts, Professor Gotlieb was able to bring in speakers from around the world.

This series consists of notes, correspondence with speakers, and notices of the events. The material is grouped by speaker and the arrangement is chronological. E-mail for 1986-1990 is found in box 004, files 01-04.

University of Toronto. McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology

Marshall McLuhan suffered a stroke during the summer of 1979 and, when it became apparent that he could not continue his duties as Director of the Centre for Culture and Technology, the University decided he should retire (he was 68). He died on 31 December, 1980, six months after the University closed the Centre he had created. This decision created an enormous public outcry.

The closure of the Centre resulted from the report of a review committee which recommended that, in the absence of Dr. McLuhan, it be reconstituted as the McLuhan Program in Culture and Technology within the School of Graduate Studies. The Program would establish "a program of research and scholarship which would extend and preserve the work and ideas of Marshall McLuhan in the area of culture and technology." The committee also recommended that the Program be governed by a board of directors, that the University provide the financial resources for the Program, and that it be subject to periodic review.

Dr. Gotlieb was one of the founding members of the Board in 1982. The University's financial crisis, occasioned by the salary settlements that spring, nearly meant that the Program was stillborn. The Board was to spend a considerable amount of time over the next few years seeking outside funding; the Connaught Foundation proved especially receptive. Professor Gotlieb's resignation from the Advisory Board (as it was known from 1989) was reluctantly accepted in March, 1990.

These files contain correspondence, notes, minutes, financial statements, and reports. The arrangement is chronological.

Ontario Centre for Large Scale Computation

In 1986 the Ontario Centre for Large Scale Computation was established at the University of Toronto, the centrepiece of which was a CRAY X/MP computer. The Centre was closed on 31 March, 1992 when the Government of Ontario withdrew its subsidy. The records in this series document the life of the Centre through the activities of the University groups associated with it. These were the Research Board's Standing Committee on Computing, the Vice-Presidential Task Force on Large Scale Computation, the Parallel Computing Facility Task Group, the Supercomputer Users' Group, and the Advisory Forum on Parallel Computing.

The Research Board, through its Supercomputer Review Committee, which was chaired by Dr. Gotlieb, played a major role in the Supercomputer initiative. To monitor further the activities resulting the acquisition of the CRAY X/MP computer, the Board created, in May, 1986, a Standing Committee on Computing, which Dr. Gotlieb chaired until 1990. In 1991 the Committee was restructured as the Committee (also known as the Sub-Committee) on Computing, and Dr. Gotlieb was invited to chair it.

The minutes, correspondence, notes and reports in 1994-0022/002(01)-(03) document the role played by the Committee for the years 1986-1992. 1994-0022/002(04) contains E-mail, correspondence, notes, and reports on the allocation of CRAY user time for research from 1987, when the computer was installed, until 1991 when it was removed.

In January, 1989 the Vice-President--Research established a Task Force on Large Scale Computation "to provide the essential assessments that will inform and guide future decisions with regard to large scale computing for research", and Dr. Gotlieb was invited to be a member. The Task Force, chaired by Professor K. C. Sevcik, produced a report the following November.

B1994-0022/002(05)-(08) contain the records of the activities of the Task Force, including minutes, notes, correspondence, memoranda, and supporting documents , along with drafts of the report itself.

B1994-0022/003(01)-(02) contain correspondence, memoranda, and reports documenting the proposal for renewal of the Ontario Centre for Large Scale Computation during the course of 1991 when reports on its future were being prepared. Also included is an operational review of the Centre prepared in 1988 by John Leppik and others.

The Supercomputer Users' Group at the University of Toronto was formed in 1987 to promote the use of the Centre by researchers. Chaired by Philipp Kronberg, it lobbied the Research Board and other bodies both for continued funding and other forms of support, brought in speakers, and generally helped the project maintain a high profile during its existence. Representatives of the Research Board other than Dr. Gotlieb occasionally attended its meetings. B1994-0022/003(03)-(04) contain correspondence, minutes, press releases, and a profile of CRAY X/MP users.

The Parallel Computing Facility Task Group was created in the fall of 1990 by James Keffer, Vice-President, Research, and David Sadlier, Vice-President, Computing and Communications to make recommendations about a parallel computing facility at the University. The Task Group, chaired by Professor Gotlieb, responded to the the events of the previous year, especially the report of the Task Force. It issued a report on 29 November, to which Professor Sadlier responded the following March.

B1994-0022/003(05)-(08) contain the files on the Task Force Group, including correspondence, minutes, memoranda, notes, drafts of the survey, supporting documents, and E-mail for 1991-1992.

By 1992 three committees of the Research Board, the two chaired by Professor Gotlieb and the one chaired by Professor Sevcik, had reported that the University of Toronto should acquire a parallel computer. The Advisory Committee (later Forum) on Parallel Computing was established in the spring of 1992 to identify short and medium term (for the remainder of 1992) computing requirements at the University, and to make recommendations on the acquisition of a new, high performance parallel computing facility. It held meeting from May, 1992 through October, 1993, by which time the purchase of a KSRI Highly Parallel Computer had been made and it had been installed. The Forum was then dissolved.

The files in this last section (B1994-0022/003(09)-(11), /004(05)-(06)) contain minutes, notes, correspondence of the Forum and submissions, with covering correspondence, by companies vying for the contract. There is also a large volume of E-mail (in B1994-0022/004) relating to high performance and parallel computers, covering the years 1990-1993.


Records in this series are diverse in nature and include everything from curriculum vitae, newspapers clippings, correspondence, awards, transcripts of interviews, memorabilia and biographical write-ups. All contain some biographical information about Prof. Gotlieb that outline his achievements, activities, honours and interests. Included in this series is an interview on CBC Radio, “Morningside” with Peter Gzowski in Sept 1994 (See /001S).

Student files

Records in this series document Gotlieb's role as a teacher and especially as an academic advisor to graduate students. Files contain not only correspondence but also reports on theses and oral exams, research proposals, publication agreements, reviews of papers etc… The on-going correspondence between student and professor, even after graduation is evidence that Gotlieb acted as mentor to a new generation of computer scientists.

Advocacy and community service

This series documents Gotlieb’s participation in associations outside the academic sphere mainly relating to human rights and peace. Newsletters, correspondence, memos and reports document his involvement in the Committee of Concerned Scientists 1974-1987 and the Council of the Canadian Committee of Scientists and Scholars 1974-1987. There is also one file documenting advocacy for the release of Soviet scientist and human rights activist Anatoly Shcharansky, 1977-1980. Also included in this series are records relating to his work within the Canadian Jewish community. Included are files on Canada-Israel Chamber of Commerce, the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Global Jewish Database and Canadian Friends of the Hebrew University.

Finally, there is one box documenting his membership and activities in Science for Peace. Included are general records such as minutes of board meetings, newsletters, reports and correspondence mainly of the Toronto Group, 1992-1999. Most files relate to his position as chair of the Ethics Committee. The work of this committee resulted in the publication of two papers "The Toronto Resolution” and "Do Scientific and Scholarly Codes of Ethics Take Social Issues into Account?" both published in Accountability in Research.


This series includes only sparse records of Gotlieb’s private consulting activities, at times under the company name C.C. Gotlieb Consulting. One file relates to his consultancy work with the Center for Society, Technology and Values at the University of Waterloo.

Most of the records relating to his consultancy work are still held by Prof. Gotlieb.


Photographs document various computers operating in the University of Toronto Computation Centre from 1948 to the 1970s. Includes photos of the UTEC being developed in the late 1940s, the FERUT, the first electronic computer purchased in the world in 1952, the IBM 650 acquired in 1958 and the IBM 7090 acquired in 1962. Many of these photographs contain images of staff of Computation Centre including Joseph Kates, Beatrice (Trixie) Worsley, Don Meisner, H. Stein, and W.H.Watson. There is one formal portrait of the Computation Centre staff taken in May 1959.

There are also portraits of Professor Gotlieb over a 40 year period as well as photos of conferences he attended.


This series contains a mix of personal and professional correspondence, both incoming and outgoing spanning five decades. The early correspondence (1947-1968) richly documents Gotlieb’s early role in the development of computer science at the University of Toronto, first within the Department of Physics and later the Computation Centre and its successor bodies the Institute of Computer Science and the Department of Computer Science. There are two files marked “historical” that contain correspondence that Gotlieb selected as significant to the history of computing. Most of these early files are marked “personal” but are really professional in nature. This “personal” correspondence mainly deals with appointments, recommendations, advice, visits, lectures and thanks from a wide range of colleagues and former students.

Later correspondence (ca. 1968-1995) was arranged more of less by either activity or organization. Therefore, general correspondence files relating to Gotlieb’s publishing activities, conferences, trips and lectures are grouped together and are followed by files containing correspondence with other universities: Canadian, US and international. These document the breadth of Gotlieb’s contacts and relationships with colleagues all over the world. Files marked University of Toronto document Gotlieb’s activities on campus with respect to some committees, special lectures, planning roles, cross appointments etc.. but only in a very cursory way. There are also a series of files relating to government bodies that mainly document his advisory roles. Finally, there is one box of printed e-mail that can cover any of the above mentioned categories and more. They date from June 1989 to June 1993 and are arranged chronologically.

Also included in this series are three files of Letters of Recommendation, dating from 1983-2001. Some of this correspondence relates to the Student Files found in Series X. Gotlieb was often asked for recommendations for former students long after they graduated.

University of Toronto committees and projects

This series document’s Gotlieb’s role in several University of Toronto committees and initiatives, mainly relating to computers and their increasing use in the teaching and research functions of the University. Except for two small files dealing with the FERUT project in the 1960s, the committees documented here date from about the early 1980s to 2001. This was a time that saw exponential growth in the use and access to computers, first with the proliferation of personal computers and later with the development of the Internet. Included are files on the Toronto Waterloo Cooperative on Information Technology 1981-1985, the Working Group for a Canadian Electronic Text Network 1988, and the Identity Technology Working Group (Smart Card Review Committee). There are extensive printed e-mail files containing reports, discussions and correspondence for the Information Highway Working Group. This latter group was loosely related to the University since more that half its members were Faculty. It played a consultative role to the federal government on the development of the Internet.

Also included in this series are records relating to the Task Force on Academic Computing and New Media. It includes correspondence, e-mail, reports, surveys and notes from meetings. This Task Force was the successor of the Task force that set up the Information Commons. It was mandated to focus on “exploiting the academic computing and new media to enhance teaching and research, to enhance the communication among members of the University, and to connect effectively with a wider, external academic computer” [1].


  1. Report of the Task Force on Academic Computing and New Media, Working Draft 5, Feb. 14 2000 p. 3.

Professional associations and committees

This series contains correspondence, reports, memos, notes, minutes of meetings relating to Gotlieb's participation in several professional associations and committees external to the University of Toronto. Of some interest for researchers of early computing are the printed proceedings of the Computation Seminar in 1949 and the Scientific Computation Forum in 1950 hosted by IBM. A group photograph taken at the first meeting is part of this series and has been filed at /001P(30). Other early records document the 1968 Congress of the International Federation of Information Processing in Edinburgh that Gotlieb helped organize. A 2001 history of IFIP is also included in this series, a chapter of which deals specifically with Gotlieb’s contribution to the international body. There is also documentation relating to the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Computer History Project. Gotlieb was interviewed for this project and the 1971 transcript describes early computing at the University of Toronto from 1949 to 1961.

The greatest extent of records in this series documents Gotlieb’s active participation in the Association of Computing Machines – more commonly known as ACM. Included is some early correspondence (1960-1965) as well as correspondence while Editor-in-Chief of two publications Communications and The Journal of ACM. There are three boxes of files documenting his influential position as Chair of the ACM Awards Committee, a position he held from 1988-1993 and from 1998 to the present.

Conferences, talks and seminars

This series includes files relating to participation at conferences, seminars and special lectures. The files most often contain a copy of the paper or talk given at the event as well as related correspondence, information about the event such as conference programs, meeting outlines and notes. Some of these papers were subsequently published, usually in the journal for the sponsoring organization. Other records relating to the publishing of papers can be found in Series 6. Researchers should note that many of these papers relate to how computers have affected society and are therefore a rich resource for studying the larger social impact of computers.


This series documents only a small percentage of the large body of Gotlieb's published works in the form of refereed articles, contributions to books and books. Correspondence, often with the publishing house, reviews and contracts can be found for four of his books: Data Types and Structures, High Speed Data Processing, Social Issues in Computing, The Economics of Computers. The files do not contain the working manuscript or typescript. Files relating to articles do contain a working copy of the article, and may also contain related correspondence and reviews.


This series documents Gotlieb's activities on editorial advisory boards, as a referee, consultant and/or editor. It includes documentation on several publications, including the Annals of the History of Computing, the Journal of Computing and Society, Utilitas Mathematicas as well as several encyclopedias. There is also one general file relating to a variety of editorial projects. Not included in this series, are the papers related to his role in editing the publications of ACM. These records can be found in Series IV.

The files may contain correspondence, referee reports, submissions of papers, biographies of contributors, minutes and meeting agenda.


This series documents Gotlieb's early research, mainly in the use of computers to develop timetables. Gotlieb's interest in this area of computer application evolved from a very practical need to revamp the Arts and Science Timetable in early 1960s, a task he was assigned as a young professor. Through the 1960s, he gave many papers on the subject and his expertise was recognized internationally. However, overtime, his interests led elsewhere and his time table research was passed on to another generation of computer scientists. He is recognized internationally for laying the groundwork in this area of computer applications. There are eight files on this research containing correspondence, reports, notes and related papers.

There is also one file relating to early research on computers and music. This master’s thesis research by student Jim Gabura had as its goal to successfully develop software that could recognize music by specific composers. The file contains original research, papers, correspondence, research reports and other related material. There is also the original cassette of taped music used in the research titled as "Appendix 6 -- Recordings" (For access see /002S). This research was being done in the early 1960s.

In the early 1980s, Gotlieb participated in the Bell Canada VISTA project, a videotex system that allowed users to access computer stored information on a modified television screen. This was more or less an early attempt at a communication system like the Internet. Included is correspondence, the original agreement, notes and publications documenting the experiment. There are also slides showing what the screens of information looked like. (For access see /001P(38)-(39).

There is one other graduate project documented in this series. This is the research by student Darrell Parsons (Ph.D. 1990) looking into the use of computers as it relates to productivity in banking. This thesis research was eventually published in the Journal of Productivity Analysis as “Productivity and Computers in Canadian Banking”, by Darrell Parsons, Calvin C. Gotlieb and Michael Denny, 1993. A copy of the paper, along with correspondence, research outlines and proposals can be found in the last file of this series.


This series is made up of course binders containing course outlines, reading lists, lectures, assignments and term tests for several of Gotlieb's most popular courses including the Economics of Computers and Computers and Society. There are records that document courses taught both in the Department of Computer Science and the Faculty of Library Science.