The Simulation Model of Automobile Collisions (SMAC) program was originally developed at Calspan Corporation (formerly the Cornell Aeronautical Lab) in the early 1970’s. The original computer platform for the development and execution of the SMAC program was the IBM 370, an IBM mainframe computer. The original form of the input to the IBM 370 for the SMAC program was punched card decks. These were stacks of cards, each containing one data line, 80 columns wide, which was for FORTRAN program input. FORTRAN normally subdivided into 9 fields, each eight columns wide. There was a card sequence number and card number ID in the last 8 columns. Of course the card sequence number and card number ID were particularly important if you inadvertently dropped the data deck!
With the evolution of mini and micro computers and Graphical User Interface (GUI) programming, many programs have opted to discard the card data deck type of input. This has resulted in programs which sometimes require extensive navigation to get to the page which contains the variable you wish to edit. Normally input datasets created and maintained for GUI interfaces are saved in database format, a sometimes cryptic form (normally numbers separated by delimiters, either tabs or commas, in a sequence customized for a particular program). With this type of interface the dataset does not normally lend itself to manual recognition or editing. However, a dataset organized similar to a punched card deck avoids the GUI navigation problems and permits the users, if they are so inclined, to view and/or edit the input data deck with any text editor.
With the current power and performance capabilities of modern day PC computers, the use of a card deck for input to the m-smac program can be transparent to the individual user. The m-edit environment has been designed so that the inputs can be viewed and manipulated through familiar GUI interfaces or through a grid type edit "card deck" mode. The actual input to the program is kept per the original form of SMAC as ASCII card input decks.
McHenry Software, Inc. has chosen to retain the original format of a card deck as inputs to the m-smac program (in the form of a disk dataset) for the following reasons:
• Complete input files are short text files that normally can be listed on a single page.
• Some of the other versions of the smac program require paging through several pages of inputs to determine specific inputs.
• Experienced users can identify inputs by visual inspection of location. This permits easy editing and modification, particularly when editing is performed with an intelligent editor like the m-edit editor, which recognizes and reminds the user of the current field identification.
• Comparison of datasets is achieved simply by determining changes at specific input field locations.
• The m-edit program promotes familiarization with the card input format and card field identification so that experienced users can recognize and edit m-smac input datasets independent of the m-edit environment, if they are so inclined.