POL started in the late 1950's on the CY-178 mainframe computer. This computer weighed several tons and was largly constructed from vacuum tubes. It was owned by the federal defense department and was used to help design rockets. During the off hours, the engineers often ordered food, primarily pizza. Since the closest phone was nearly 20 feet down the hall, these engineers decided that they needed an easier way to order their food. Thus the creation of Pizza Online. It was programmed on a wide array of punch cards. After the first month of operation, it was upgraded to include some really nice ASCII art. Although it took 15 minutes to warm up the computer, and another 20 to actually boot the program, many of the engineers used it to order their food. Not too long afterwards, the CY-178 was retired, and the entire pizza online program was filed away. Due to the recent downsizing of the federal defense department, these files were sold at an auction. They fell into the hands of several students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and were reverse-engineered to see exactly how it worked. Once this was complete, work began to port it to the web. After months of tedious research and work, the POL system is now back online. And now, nearly 40 years later, young students can follow in the footsteps of those starving engineers, and order wonderous food on the computer.
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