Issue No. 11 - November (2004 vol. 37)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MC.2004.185
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL (p. 14). "Digital computers are being applied in large numbers to air traffic control operations in the United States. By the mid-1970s, all U.S. en route traffic control centers and all busy terminals will be equipped with systems featuring digital computers which process flight plans and radar and beacon data into displays for air traffic controllers. Work is underway to further apply computers to such control functions as ground-based conflict prediction, sequencing and spacing, and flow control."
VOTING SYSTEM (p. 32). "The most important voting procedure traditionally utilized in the United States House of Representatives to resolve legislative issues involves a time-consuming roll call of Representatives' names. It has been recognized for a number of years that this cumbersome feature of the legislative process could be automated so that a more efficient use of Members' time would be possible. The year 1970 saw the fruition of several years' effort to achieve a broad range of Congressional reforms. Not since 1946, when important structural changes in Committees and their staffs were made, had there been a generalized reform of Congressional procedures. The Legislative Reorganization Act of 1970 (PL 91-510) in section 121 specifically provides that electronic equipment may be used to record votes in the House of Representatives."
GRAPHICS TERMINALS (p. 48). "By now engineers and draftsmen-designers have prepared thousands of silicon and thin film IC chip layouts, printed wiring boards, mechanical drawings and electrical schematics at interactive graphics terminals. Analysis shows that the design intervals are shortened (some by factors of three or better), overall cost is reduced, designs of greater complexity can be handled and higher accuracy of product is achieved. All of these improvements were predicted when interactive computer graphics was first proposed and prototypes were first demonstrated in the early to mid-1960s."
VIRTUAL MEMORY (pp. 59-60). "Xerox Corporation has announced two major enhancements for its UTS virtual-memory operating system—an expansion of Xerox Sigma 9 support to two million bytes of core memory and a disk-only storage system. …
"Xerox UTS, which was introduced early in 1971 as primarily a time-sharing system, has evolved through eight versions and numerous additional enhancements into a comprehensive multi-use operating system for Xerox Sigma 6 and Sigma 9 computers."
VOICE SYNTHESIZER (p. 63). "The new Votrax(TM) voice synthesizer, manufactured and marketed world-wide by the Vocal Interface Division of Federal Screw Works, Detroit, will be demonstrated at the Fall Joint Computer Conference.
"The Votrax unit, weighing approximately 3lbs. and measuring 10" × 4" × 11", can fit into a container as small and portable as an ordinary suitcase.
"The solid-state voice synthesizer converts digital commands into completely understandable English or into any language, if programmed for the purpose.
"Essentially, Votrax is an analog of the human vocal system, receiving the counterpart of voice signals to the larynx, and duplicating human speech through the utterance of the proper phonemes, a group of like or related [speech] sounds."
MESSAGE SWITCHING (p. 64). "Nearly 100 million messages a year can be speeded among more than 80,000 terminals by a new message-switching and processing facility demonstrated recently in Middletown, Va.
"Designed, built and operated for the Western Union Telegraph Company by Teleprocessing Industries, Inc., the center is the world's largest in terms of terminals it interconnects.
"With three large-scale computers (Univac 1108s), three medium-size computers (Univac 418s) and more than 125 other pieces of major computer and communications equipment, the new facility enhances Western Union services and makes new ones possible."
IMPRISONED COMPUTER (pp. 65-66). "A new 'inmate' has been welcomed to Massachusetts maximum security prison. The new resident of the prison is a computer to be used by prisoners who study computer programming.
"The computer was formerly in the custody of Honeywell, Inc., the company that is lending the machine to the inmates. Volunteers from the company began teaching programming courses at the prison in 1967.
"State Corrections Commissioner John O. Boone praised the computer program as being one of the rehabilitation programs in the country with a record of success. He said that the recidivism rate for inmates involved with the program is only 4 1/2 percent, while the national return rate approaches 70 percent."
THE PROGRAMMER'S APPRENTICE (p. 11). "The long-term goal of the Programmer's Apprentice project is to develop a theory of how expert programmers analyze, synthesize, modify, explain, specify, verify, and document programs. This is basic research at the intersection of artificial intelligence and software engineering. From the AI perspective, we are using programming as a domain in which to study fundamental issues in knowledge representation and reasoning. From the software engineering perspective, we are applying techniques from AI to automate the programming process. Âº
(p. 24) "The Programmer's Apprentice is a basic research project. However, some of the principles and technology described here are beginning to move into practical application. Frame-based knowledge representations and dependency-directed reasoning are beginning to appear in the repertoire of techniques for computer-aided software engineering."
THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITY (p. 60). "Although only about a decade old and still not without flaws, the European information technology standards conformance testing program is making genuine progress.
"The European Community, as it is known today, came into existence in 1957 with the signing of the Treaty of Rome. Although the community now has a common flag—a true identity symbol—it does not yet possess a single marketplace. The EC is aiming for such harmony, but has not had as much time as the US to achieve it."
STANDARDS (p. 63). "With President Reagan's signing of the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act, the US Commerce Department's National Bureau of Standards has become the National Institute of Standards and Technology."
EXPERT SYSTEMS (p. 68). "Expert systems—also, and perhaps more properly, known by the term knowledge-based systems—seem to be everywhere. Various applications have appeared in corporate settings, including the well-known Xcon system designed by Digital Equipment and the Cooker system designed by Campbell Soup. Digital developed the former to automate the organization of computer system components and to ensure that order shipments included all necessary parts and cables. Campbell developed the latter when a 40-year employee who serviced the cooking machines approached retirement."
AN APPLE (p. 83). "Apple Computer has replaced the Apple IIc with the new Apple IIc Plus. The new machine uses an 800-Kbyte internal disk drive for 3 1/2-inch floppy disks. Users can choose 1- or 4-MHz operating speeds.
"Other new features include an internal power supply, a security lock option, a slide volume control, and a revised pin configuration on the serial ports."
COMPAQ (p. 86). "Compaq Computer has added the DeskPro 386/20e to its line of 80386-based computers. The 386/20e incorporates a 20-MHz Intel 80386 microprocessor and Compaq's Flex architecture, which provides the 20-MHz Intel 82385 cache memory controller, a 32-bit memory bus, and a separate peripheral expansion bus compatible with 8- and 16-bit add-on boards and peripherals."