Biographical / Historical
SHARE (Society to Help Avoid Redundant Effort), the first organized user group in the computer industry, was established by a group of IBM 704 users in the Los Angeles area in 1955. After IBM announced the introduction of the 704 in early 1955, MM installations recognized the need for a cooperative effort to prepare for the onset of new hardware. A similar group, the Project for the Advancement of Coding Techniques (PACT), had been formed in 1954 to improve computer productivity of the IBM 701. The spark for the creation of SHARE was a seminar conducted by the MM Applied Science on the new IBM 704. At the seminar, many users realized that they were more informed about IBM hardware than the IBM seminar instructors. After lunch on the day of the seminar, Jack Strong and Frank Wagner of North American Aviation, Lee Amaya of Lockheed, and Paul Armer of the Rand Corporation placed calls to all known 704 customers from a phone booth in Los Angeles to plan a meeting. The meeting was to bring together all 704 users for the purpose of cooperative planning for 704 installations. During the week of August 22, 1955, the first SHARE meeting (SHARE I) was held in the basement conference room of the RAND Corporation. Forty-six people, representing seventeen IBM 704 installations, were at the first meeting.
From the beginning SHARE's primary goals were to foster joint research and development, provide a forum for the exchange of ideas pertaining to computer science, facilitate the development of data processing standards and for dialogue with IBM hardware and software users, and promote the exchange of programs. During the ensuing years, SHARE held meetings biannually and various organizational policies and trends were established. SHARE III established basic rules of procedure and definition of membership. SHARE V, held in May 1956, established the practice of having smaller workshops at the meeting. At SHARE VII, members from Canada, France, and England were included and a formal set of by laws was created establishing SHARE as a formal organizational structure. In addition, SHARE VII initiated Standing Committees and an Executive Board. At SHARE IX, the hardware emphasis was combined with a focus on programming languages, translators, commercial data processing, and application packages. In April 1964, IBM announced the availability of the new System 360 and the next several years were focused on the OS/360, new time sharing technology, and absorbing new members with application interests varying from the original SHARE members.
During 1968 and 1969, SHARE was planning for a merger with another user group, GUIDE. GUIDE was an IBM user group concerned with the 705 and the 7080. In 1969, the merger was voted down and this prompted a major restructuring of SHARE. An administrative office with full time help was established, the by laws were redrawn, and SHARE in its original form was dissolved and renamed SHARE Inc. The name change was completed at SHARE 34 in Denver, Colorado in March 1970. In practice, SHARE continued to function in the same way but with more precise definition of behavior and larger recognition of the information processing marketplace.
By 1986, members of SHARE represented the mainstream of the world's computer usage development. A substantial percentage of major users of high speed digital computing equipment now belong to SHARE. SHARE continues to provide users with a forum to gain knowledge from formal proceedings and informal conversations with colleagues having similar concerns. SHARE provides IBM with documented user requirements for developing new products and for modifying present hardware and software systems. SHARE has produced formal specifications to further define these requirements. Through SHARE procedures for establishing such requirements and evaluating their relative costs and merits, IBM has received concise information about user needs.