The Computer Center and its staff during the 1970s

Early Years

The University of the Philippines Computer Center was established in September 15, 1966 by the Board of Regents of the University in its 750th meeting. After two years of research and collaborative work, it commenced operations on April 24, 1968. Receiving a $625,000 grant from the Ford Foundation and a $213,614 discount from IBM, the Center purchased its first IBM 360/40 mainframe as well as free training for UPCC personnel and staff.

The Center was established primarily for three main purposes:

  1. Provide centralized high-speed computing services and programming assistance to the faculty, staff and students of the University
  2. Develop and administer an inter-disciplinary academic program in Computer Science; assist other academic departments in the development of computer-oriented courses in their respective disciplines.
  3. Develop and conduct a program of research in Computer Sciences.

The presence of the Computer Center marked the computerization of the administrative data processing within the University. Among the completed programs used by the University are the preparation of schedules of salaries and the general payroll for all units and colleges of the university; the accounting transactions and financial reports; the preparation of registration procedures; and finally, the indexing of earnings and deductions of the university personnel to facilitate recording of annual earnings and deductions for income tax and other purposes.

Computer Center Staff with an IBM 370 mainframe (right)

The Center’s services was not only utilized by the University but by other educational and government institutions in the country as well.

By 1982, the Center acquired an IBM 370-138 mainframe for Php 650,000.00. It had 512 kilobytes of memory and could compile Fortran, ANS-COBOL, PL/I, RPG and ALGOL.

As with other campus mainframes during those times, computing resources were allocated through a time-share basis, wherein users were allotted computer points per semester. Students, faculty memebrs and administrative officials within the university were eligible to apply for computer time. Other educational institutions and government entities would require special arrangements for computer time upon the Advisory Board of the Computer Center.

Decentralization and the Birth of DILNET

Trenches for fiber-optic cabling being laid out in 1995

As advancements in computing technology evolved, computers became smaller, more powerful and more affordable. The University could now purchase more computers, and the role of the Center became more decentralized.

In 1995, the Center spearheaded the Diliman Network (DilNet) Project, funded by a $71,000 donation from UNESCO. The first phase interconnected Science and Engineering Libraries via fiber-optic cabling.

Succeeding DilNet projects followed throughout the years, increasing inter and intra-premises networking.

The 1990s also marked the rise of the Internet, with the Center involved in connecting the University with the rest of the world.

In its meeting on 22 February 2001, the Board of Regents (BOR), in its 1148th meeting, approved “in line with the devolution of system units to the relevant constituent university”, the transfer of the Center from UP System to UP Diliman, under its Office of the Chancellor.

During this time, the Computer Center has also found itself involved in several software development projects across the campus:

  1. Student Tuition Assistanec Program (STFAP) processing, now succeeded by STS
  2. Computerized Registration System (CRS), now succeeded by SAIS in some campuses
  3. Document Tracking System (DocuTrak)
  4. Virtual Learning Environment, now maintained by ILC Diliman
  5. iLib, now maintained by the Main Library
  6. UP Webmail

Through the Inter-campus Networking and Communications Project, the Center has successfully implemented fiber optic cable backbones, as well as technical assistance and equipment upgrades across all the autonomous campuses in the University.

During the term of then UP President Francisco Nemenzo, the Center spearheaded various open-source training and migration programs across offices in the campus. To this day, the Center provides free copies and repositories of many Linux Operating distributions as well as free and open-source software.

Role of the Center Today

The University Computer Center in Diliman now maintains one of the largest campus networks in the country, having laid more than 50 kilometers of fiber optic cables, deploying over 500 managed wireless hotspots, 1,300 Voice over IP (VoIP) phones (in cooperation with the UPD PABX Office), and hosts over 60 UPD websites through its servers.

In 2008, UP Diliman has successfully implemented its first native IPv6 peering with DOST-ASTI’s Philippine Research, Education and Government Network (PREGINET).

On June 7, 2011, UP Diliman rolled out full IPv6 implementation on its campus, with more than 15,000 clients and 100 LANs connected – one of the first in the country. It has also launched the first official time for use for UP Diliman.

On December 2013, UP Diliman tested its first 10-gigabit uplink with DOST-ASTI.

From its original mandate, the Center’s thrust is now to provide and maintain high-speed connectivity to the Internet and inter-unit data & voice connectivity within the Campus. It also provides hosting and data-encoding services and maintains DILNET accounts used for accessing many ICT services in UPD (Webmail, CRS, UVLe, iLib, among others). The Center also assists other units in providing the University timely, efficient, innovative, resilient and service-oriented ICT solutions and services.

University Computer Center is divided into 2 units namely: