Issue No.06 - June (2012 vol.45)
Published by the IEEE Computer Society
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MC.2012.196
A summary of articles published in Computer 32 and 16 years ago.
TECHNICAL ACTIVITIES (p. 3) "… As IEEE vice-president for technical activities, I am responsible for the 32 groups, societies, and councils that are part of TAB, the Technical Activities Board. Each G/S/C has its own specialized area of activity in which it publishes one or more journals, sponsors conferences, and in other ways works toward increasing and disseminating knowledge. The Computer Society is by far the largest of the G/S/C's, and thus I am extremely interested in its operations."
COMPUTERS IN EDUCATION (p. 7) "Industrialized countries everywhere are rapidly moving toward a computerized society, thus making computer education and appropriate uses of computers in education two especially critical areas of concern. While there are many problems to be solved, there is an even greater number of alternative viewpoints regarding their solution. … In this and next month's Computer we will explore several solutions to the problems presented by the use of computers in education."
ASIAN EDUCATION (p. 11) "… in response to the needs of Asian computer users, AIT [the Asian Institute of Technology] is initiating programs in computing education. To ensure their relevance, AIT first surveyed the needs of the region. The resulting programs, especially a novel master's degree program in computer application technology, are specific to the Asian situation. But many of the conclusions reached—and programs developed—may be useful elsewhere, since there appears to be some commonality between Asian needs and those of other less-developed regions."
INTERACTIVE PROGRAMMING (p. 27) "… many people in computer science are led to believe that a course or two in using the computer qualifies them to be called programmers. A haphazard approach to programming a computer is encouraged by permitting an essentially ad hoc attitude—similar to a youngster doing an ‘experiment’ with a chemistry set."
EDUCATION FOR THE 80s (p. 37) "… We have no reason to doubt that the systems of the 80s will indeed do all those wonderful things predicted for them. And if they do not, the failure will be due not to shortcomings in hardware, but to deficiencies in the knowledge of those who would use that hardware.
"It is here that education comes into play, for in the next decade it must be the bridge from hardware to application. So that they may fully exploit hardware, computer professionals will require new knowledge and skills. So that they may fully use computer technology, laymen will require an understanding and acceptance of that technology. …"
THE HUMAN INTERFACE (p. 45) "These three—the secretary, logic designer, and artist—are a sample of the people now using computer-operated displays to do their own work. The systems differ widely and the users' understanding of the systems, as distinguished from their understanding of their own work, varies from a little to a lot. The challenge of meeting the needs of all kinds of users, i.e., of how the system is to be interfaced to the human being, occupied a SIGGRAPH 79 panel discussion organized by Tom Bruggere of Tektronix."
LINE GRAPHICS (p. 57) "The most commonly used algorithm in computer graphics work is one that is used to draw a line segment between two points. In low-resolution work, the speed of this algorithm may not be a very important issue, since there are fewer points to plot than in high-resolution systems. However, with the availability of moderately priced, high-resolution video graphics systems, existing graphics algorithms—including the line generator—are no longer sufficient in a real-time setting."
IMAGE PROCESSING (p. 79) "Although Voyager's image making has received the most public attention, space exploration is but one of a growing number of important—and sometimes critical—application areas for digital image processing. These range from medicine to industrial automation to aerial and satellite photography and reconnaissance. In the latter area, Landsats and similar space imagery satellites have stimulated the development of increasingly sophisticated digital image processing facilities."
DISK DRIVES (p. 86) "Higher-performance floppy disk drives—and lower-cost ones using smaller disks—will appear in the next few years, but technological advances may not be sufficient to fend off bubble memories for small capacities and 8-inch Winchester disks for larger capacities."
VIDEODISKS (p. 87) "The data processing industry may have to reevaluate its established storage strategies in light of the capabilities offered by optoelectronic technology, i.e., videodisks. According to a new report from Strategic Business Services, Inc., videodisks will make significant inroads into the mass storage market now dominated by magnetic disk and tape and microfiche, but will also create a new software industry."
PROGRAMMERS? (p. 9) "I question the conventional metrics used to measure programmer productivity and software reusability. How many other ordinary people are out there who customize Access, Word, and Excel or use Visual Basic to get the job done without calling themselves programmers or without using a small army of programmers?"
FUTUREPERSON (p. 12) "Within the next decade, you and nearly everyone else will have a home page and a domain name. Along with boring strings of numbers (telephone, fax, cellular, pager, Social Security number, …), FuturePerson will have a colorful domain name and an even more colorful Web page. Your URL will be your mailbox address in Wired World."
GIGABIT ETHERNET (p. 18) "The proposed 1-Gbps version of Ethernet has sparked considerable interest among Ethernet users. Vendors like 3Com, Sun Microsystems, Bay Networks, and Compaq have formed the Gigabit Ethernet Alliance, and the IEEE has come up with preliminary guidelines for developing an ultrafast Ethernet standard. It hopes to complete its work by late 1998, at which point products based on the standard should become widely available."
GPS (p. 22) "US government officials have announced that they will release the Precise Code signal of their Global Positioning System (GPS) to the public. This will let rescue vehicles find locations of emergencies more quickly and let commercial jets, ships, and trucks more accurately determine where they are."
DEVICE CONTROL (p. 28) "There are many ways to control a given mechanism. Whether consciously or unconsciously, every interface designer chooses a model that forms the basis for how the mechanism is controlled. Two principal approaches are the engineering model and the user-task model."
GROUPWARE (p. 37) "Suppose you're a member of a few development teams, working with people who are geographically dispersed. You're using distributed groupware to work with your teammates. As usual, you're under extreme deadline pressure. You've got several windows open on your workstation, perhaps one for each project. How do you decide …"
MUSIC EDITING (p. 61) "Most users of notational software have little or no music copyist training, and musicianship does not guarantee notational skills. Even professional composers fail at many notational tasks if they have not had explicit copyist training. The ability to notate music has very little in common with the ability to compose or play it."
TRAINING (p. 80) "Specifically, managers and programmers in a programming shop moving to CS and OO technology need to answer the following questions: What tasks will be most important for fully functioning CS and OO developers? Should training and educational requirements focus on programming skills (such as mastering a particular language) or on more general aspects of analysis and design?"
DATA AND INFORMATION (p. 85) "Today, most multimedia systems are little more than glorified communications systems because the multimedia community has emphasized data rather than information. Data is only a source of information—a starting point from which information can be recovered. Data represents facts or observations and may come as text, images, video, or sound, depending on how the facts or observations were acquired. Information, on the other hand, is task-dependent and is derived from data in a particular context by exercising knowledge."
STANDARDS (p. 89) "Now is the time to begin establishing formal standards for portable World Wide Web applications. Portable Web applications are relatively new and immature. However, it is already clear that because they can be used on different platforms, they can play a vital role in the growth of the Web and in the convergence of communications and computing."
PUBLIC KEY CRYPTOGRAPHY (pp. 101–102) "Because it offers the possibility of true privacy and secrecy, public key cryptography has become a cause célèbre among many computer users. Nevertheless, the RSA algorithm, developed in 1977, remained the stuff of academic curiosity for nearly 20 years and did not enjoy widespread use.
"Three factors combined to delay the spread of public key cryptography: the speed disparity between low-cost and high-cost computers, intellectual property law, and the US government's export control laws, which remain a problem to this day."
BUZZWORDS (p. 120) "So there are my recommendations—five buzzwords you can invest in now. Not only will you know that your organization is on the leading edge of buzzword deployment, but you will also know that those who come after you will inherit a legacy of endless amusement and perpetual care."
PDFs of the articles and departments from Computer 's June 1980 and 1996 issues are available through the IEEE Computer Society's website: www.computer.org/computer.