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Usage Statistics

The CERL PLATO system logged 10 million hours of use between September, 1978 and May, 1985 (a period for which the most complete statistics are available).

About 3.35 million of those hours (over one third) were spent in Notes. About 3.3 million messages were posted. By the end of this period there were about 2000 notesfiles.

No figures are available for time spent in Personal Notes, "term-talk", or Talkomatic. But some numbers are known for games. Avatar alone accounted for about 600,000 hours, and Empire claimed another 300,000 or so. All told, games probably accounted for about 20% of PLATO usage during this period.

Few statistics are available for the many Control Data systems, but none were as large as the CERL system. An educated guess is that CERL accounted for about 25% of all PLATO usage worldwide.

The numbers are incomplete, but it is probable that people interacting with other people represented at least half of all PLATO usage. This is remarkable considering that the designers of PLATO never envisioned that communication between people would play more than an incidental role.

Copyright © 1994 by David R. Woolley

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Copyright (c) 1996 - 2006 Elizabeth Mattijsen
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