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Early in 1963, NIH chose a board with Tom Sandel as executive secretary to evaluate LINC. The LINC Evaluation Board, with an overall background in biomedical research and computer engineering, was charged with the responsibility of selecting research participants to test LINC's utility in laboratory experiments and to evaluate the 2-year program. In the spring of 1963, NIH published an announcement offering a LINC computer to interested biomedical researchers in return for two commitments: a summer of learning and assembling the LINC, and participation in a project to evaluate LINC as a laboratory tool. From the surprisingly large number of proposals submitted (72), the board selected 12. Even with little knowledge of LINC's capabilities, it was obvious to many researchers that a small, on-line computer in their own labs was a potential boon worth the investment of a summer of tinkering in the suburbs of Boston.

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Photograph of the inside of LINC with its many wires
A view of the inside of LINC

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The second group arrived in August, benefitting somewhat from the experience of the first, but essentially repeating their experience. By the end of both assembly periods, all groups had working systems. Despite the wide disparity in computer background among the 12 teams, all had become familiar with LINC and understood the computer well enough to go it alone. Within 2 weeks after assembly, the LINC were sitting in their laboratories ready for action and the start of a new era in biomedical research.

 


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