One day after I had completed my bachelor's degree, an instructor of mine named Professor Hasan called to tell me that he had taken a job in computer systems management at the Karachi Cantonment, a Pakistani Army depot. The army had deployed an ICL DRS 20 computer there, and he invited me to come and see it.
The ICL DRS 20 was a product of International Computers Limited, a large British company that manufactured the computer hardware. The ICL DRS 20 was primitive compared to today's advanced computers, but early in the 1980s, it was considered a leading-edge system. Professor Hasan and I spent an entire evening poring over the computer's configuration, peripherals, operating system, and programming language. When we were finished, he gave me a number of related technical guides to read. I spent hours studying these and reading anything else I could find on the topic. I was fascinated with the technology. The more I read, the more I became consumed with the notion of writing a software program for this computer.
I had never written a software program before. Perhaps naïvely, I was as intensely driven to do it as I was to write The Rhoton Theory, not knowing ahead of time what that would require. I had no idea how to even begin to design a program that would run on the ICL DRS 20, especially when I lacked practical experience and had no access to it.
The idea for the program came to me one evening, as I was seated within earshot of ...