https_cdn.evbuc.com_images_30188693_385013359_1_originalThe Great Subway Race of 1967

Fifty years ago an M.I.T. computer whiz kid named Peter Samson and a group of his schoolmates attempted one of the most audacious stunts in the history of the New York City subway system. Samson programmed M.I.T.’s PDP-6 mainframe computer — about the size of a passenger elevator — to calculate the most efficient route to ride the entire subway system in the least amount of time. In their outrageous attempt to break the existing riding record the team employed payphones, runners, and a teletype hook-up between a makeshift “data center” in midtown Manhattan and the mainframe in Cambridge, Mass. Michael Miscione, the Manhattan Borough Historian, will interview Samson and one of his schoolmates, George Mitchell, as they recount the Great Subway Race of 1967. Come and find out how it all played out.

Watch a 5-minute video preview.

Samson’s subway racing experience, by the way, was a mere colorful blip in a much more substantive career. At M.I.T. he and his friends were the high priests of the school’s still-new computer lab – the original “hackers,” a term that originated in the lab. Their vision of computers as more than just business calculators laid the foundation for today’s personal computer and video game era. They were the pioneers who would later move out west to inspire and teach the Bill Gateses, Steve Wozniaks, and Steve Jobses!

Do people today still try to break the subway riding record? Sure — it makes the news every year or two. But now they carry their route-planning computers in their pocket.

The Great Subway Race of 1967
Friday, April 21, 2017, 7:00 to 9:00 PM

Room HW615, Hunter College West Building
Southwest corner of 68 St. & Lexington Ave., Manhattan

Advance registration absolutely required!
Free (or suggested donation: $15 + small fee)
RSVP at the event page.

Questions? Email

Thanks to the following institutions for their generous support:
Hunter College Computer Science Department
Sam Schwartz Engineering
The General Society of Mechanics and Tradesmen of the City of New York
The New York Transit Museum
Freedean Tech
The Bowery Boys
Nerd Nite
Society for the Advancement of Social Studies (S.A.S.S.!)
ATX Nation


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