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It was connected to the PLATO III system by a video connection and a separate dedicated line for keyboard data.
PLATO I, II and III had been funded by small grants from a combined Army-Navy-Air Force funding pool, but by the time PLATO III was in operation everyone involved was convinced it was worthwhile to scale up the project.
Many modern concepts in multi-user computing were originally developed on PLATO, including forums, message boards, online testing, e-mail, chat rooms, picture languages, instant messaging, remote screen sharing, and multiplayer games.CDC President William Norris planned to make PLATO a force in the computer world, but found that marketing the system was not as easy as hoped. Bill that provided free college education to World War II veterans, higher education was limited to a minority of the US population, though only 9% of the population was in the military.PLATO nevertheless built a strong following in certain markets, and the last production PLATO system did not shut down until 2006, coincidentally just a month after Norris died. The trend towards greater enrollment was notable by the early 1950s, and the problem of providing instruction for the many new students was a serious concern to university administrators.Built on a CDC 1604, given to them by William Norris, PLATO III could simultaneously run up to 20 terminals, and was used by local facilities in Champaign-Urbana that could enter the system with their custom terminals.The only remote PLATO III terminal was located near the state capitol in Springfield, Illinois at Springfield High School.