I learned to program in the IITRAN Language using paper tape submitted for remote batch via model 33 teletype. Paper tapes may still exist in the brown steel box in the store room.
I'd seen a UNIVAC computer at the New York World's Fair. They had punch cards that you could write your name on and have your handwriting analyzed. Must have been a sham.
My friend Jerry Dijak was in the school programming class. His program had labels like TOWN and BED. He wrote statements like GO TO TOWN and GO TO BED. That piqued my interest.
The math teacher Mr. Clark and I both had an afternoon free period. He graded papers while I typed in programs, including some for his students.
I made up problems and solved them.
Temperature Conversion Table introduced formulas, looping and printing. I learned what program steps were. Later I learned about data types when the advanced manual became available. I could branch based on a boolean variable.
Printer Plotting by writing nested loops in x and y. I plugged these coordinates into the equation of the circle. The resulting marks were sparse and traced out an oval. I connected the dots by hand.
Calculate Pi using numerical integration. Found that getting more than a couple digits of accuracy took long compute times. Raised my own time limit only to find that numerical underflow made the answer worse.
Craps Dice Game four robotic players played in batch by simple heuristics.
I eventually drove up to Chicago to visit IIT to see the actual computer: an IBM 360. Saw blinking lights on the end of the computer and rotary dials for inputs. Thought both odd.
At the IIT bookstore I picked up a manual for Fortran thinking it would be so much better than IITRAN. Had trouble understanding why it appeared so clumsy.
Harry Chesley recalls participating in the IIT program at River Forest High School.