Around 1980, we purchased a share in a VAX-11/780 with the intention of running long mathematical programs during the off-hours when it was otherwise unused. In the same year, Thompson sent John McKay two papers [28,29] outlining a connection between a codeword of weight 12 and a set of fixed-point free involutions. When McKay showed me the papers, I was finally hooked. We had a computer looking for a problem and the search for codewords of weight 12 was a problem looking for a computer. I started by writing a simple computer program to play with the ideas. Little did I know that it would become a 9 year undertaking!
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