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32 & 16 YEARS AGO

Pages: pp. 10-11

August 1973

NETWORKING TECHNOLOGY (p. 18). "Of particular interest for future work is the design and development of large networks, especially of the packet-switched type, and the further refinement of routing strategies. Related to this is a better understanding of network flow control, all the way from inside hosts to terminal characteristics, and the design of next-generation protocols that smooth the operation of heterogeneous networks. New types of higher level protocols are necessary … in which more natural crossing of inter-machine barriers can be achieved with regard to operating system control language and other burdensome incompatibilities."

"The interfacing of both terminals and host computers to networks … still requires considerable attention. The problem is acute for hosts, in which present schemes frequently introduce substantial overhead and demand special hardware and software which must be continually updated as the host system evolves."

NETWORK ISSUES (p. 21). "One of the most topical subjects of the past few years has been networks—both data communications networks as well as complete computing networks. A large number of technical studies and projects have been focused on this area; however, it is clear that many of the critical issues in network development have been overlooked or not given the attention that they require. To quote from a paper presented last year … there is no question but that the social, political, and legal problems (rather than the technical ones) will delay the coming of the computer utility [network].' Dr. Robert M. Fano recently underscored one aspect of the situation when he stated before a House of Representatives Committee hearing that there should be restrictions on the development of nationwide information networks 'until we have developed adequate means for protecting individual privacy.' However, these voices are in the minority and even they have not fully delineated the non-technical impediments to the growth and exploitation of networks."

RESOURCE SHARING (p. 33). "The whole idea of resource sharing via networks is based on the fundamental concept of aggregation of demand. The expectation is, that given an operational network, relatively small demands from around a large geographic area can be aggregated and thus be satisfied with one or a few specialized centers. By aggregating specialized service production into fewer centers, the required services can be provided at lower costs than would result from provision of the equivalent services by means of a large number of smaller machines. This principle of demand aggregation, to obtain the advantages of scale, applies to hardware, to software, and to operational costs."

PROGRAMMABLE LOGIC ARRAY (p. 38). "In the past, digital processors were designed with gates and flip-flops. Then along came read only memories (ROMs) which enabled the designer to program logic in memory, thus simplifying system design. And now, National Semiconductor Corporation has gone one step further with the Programmable Logic Array (PLA).

"Called the DM7575/DM8575 and the DM7576/ DM8576, the new bipolar monolithic integrated circuits are mask-programmable logic arrays intended to implement random logic. The PLAs have 14 data inputs and 8 outputs. Each output provides a sum of product terms where each product term can contain any combination of 14 variables or their complements. The total number of product terms which can be provided is 96. If the equivalent function were to be implemented in ROM, it would take a 128,000 bit memory."

MODULAR MICROCOMPUTERS (p. 38). "Intel Corporation has introduced two modular microcomputer development systems called Intellec 4 and Intellec 8. Both systems were developed to provide a flexible, inexpensive and simplified method of designing MCS-4 and MCS-8 OEM systems."

"The major benefit of the Intellec modular microcomputers is that all program storage can be accomplished using random-access memories (RAMs) rather than read-only memories (ROMs) for easier program loading and modification. … After the program is firm, it may be committed to non-volatile storage in Intel's 1702A programmable and erasable read-only memories."

VOICE SYNTHESIS (p. 39). "A totally new concept has been developed by Master Specialties Company in Costa Mesa, California. This company has achieved a technique for digitizing and storing whole-words in metal oxide semiconductor read-only memories. Until this technique was developed, it was totally impractical to consider storing whole-words in such a device because of the amount of storage required for each word and the cost of the storage space.

"A typical word requires about 40,000 bits of information to directly convert it to a digital signal. By analyzing completely plotted audio wave forms, engineers at Master Specialties Company have been able to develop a proprietary method for converting the analog audio signal of a word into a digital signal, requiring as little as 8,000 bits of memory storage, while still retaining all of the natural voice qualities for reproduction. This makes individual word storage practical and opens up a whole new field of applications for electronic voice response."

OPTICAL CHARACTER RECOGNITION (p. 39). "A new, low-cost Optical Character Recognition system for high speed computer data entry has been announced by Decision, Inc., Oakland, California."

"The OCR 7600 reads numeric or alphanumeric OCR, A & B fonts; data in a variety of additional fonts, including Courier, upper and lower cases; and data from typewriters, preprinted forms, computer printing and numeric hand printing.

"The equipment is compact, occupying approximately 15 square feet in total; is fast, with recognition rates to 600 characters per second; and is convenient. No longer does the user re-format his existing forms. By use of a 'lead sheet' or the built-in floppy disk, each job is programmed using existing forms printed on plain paper with noncarbon ink."

POINT-OF-SALE TERMINALS (p. 42). "BancSystems Association, the Cleveland-based Master Charge processing center, plans to introduce electronic point-of-sale terminals at a number of Northeast Ohio area retail outlets this fall.

"Three different types of terminals, each geared to the specific transaction volume and service demands of the merchant, will be utilized by the Association. This is believed to be the first such program involving more than one type of terminal."

August 1989

LETTER (p. 8). "But by far the most difficult aspect of user interface design is behavioral specification. Specifying the behavior of even a very simple object such as an on/off button is programming a machine. Environments like InterViews and Trillium do make programming easier, but it is still programming. A harder problem is providing abstractions that make machine behavior specification easy for designers with primary experience and training in human factors and cognitive psychology. Although InterViews, and the other toolkits mentioned, provide valuable support for programmers building user interfaces, what's really needed is a strong research effort directed at providing user interface tools that support designers, not programmers."

VISUALIZATION (p. 24). "The use of visualization in scientific computing—in academia, government research laboratories, and industry—will help guarantee

  • US preeminence in science and technology,
  • a well-educated pool of scientists and engineers with the quality and breadth of experience required to meet the changing needs of science and society, and
  • American industries that can successfully compete in the international economic arena.

The information age has yet to deal with information transfer. Visualization technologies can help lead the way to better global understanding and communication."

FLUID FLOW (p. 27). "Visualization of scientific data sets plays an important role in understanding complex phenomena. In fluid mechanics experiments, extensive use of flow visualization has revealed flow structures such as the large-scale eddies in turbulent shear flows discovered by Brown and Roshko in the early 1970s. Their work has had a pronounced influence on fluid mechanics research, because they showed that flow modeling studies could incorporate stable structures in what otherwise appears to be a chaotic flow."

3D MEDICAL DATA (p. 46). "Techniques for noninvasively imaging the interior of the human body have undergone a revolution in the last decade. New data acquisition modalities include computed tomography (CT), single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound. All of these modalities have the potential for producing three-dimensional arrays of intensity values.

"Unfortunately for the clinician, no fully satisfactory method for viewing this data yet exists."

MINICOMPUTER (p. 123). "Hewlett-Packard has added an entry-level minicomputer to its family of HP Precision Architecture systems. The new multiuser computer is based on the Unix operating system and the company's reduced instruction set computing architecture.

"The HP 9000 Model 815S includes two serial ports, 8 Mbytes of memory, and a 16-user license for the HP-UX operating system, which follows AT&T's Unix System V Interface Definition Issue 2."

TRANSPUTERS (p. 124). "Paracom has released the SuperCluster parallel processing supercomputer, based on the Inmos Transputer chip. The system employs a hierarchic cluster architecture.

"The Transputers include 4 Kbytes of internal static RAM, an on-chip floating-point processor, and four 20-Mbit/s links. Each processor node has up to 4 Mbytes of dynamic RAM with error detection and correction.

"According to the company, the basic subunit of the supercomputer consists of the computing cluster, designed around 16 T800 Transputers operating at 25 MHz, and a network configuration unit."

"The 64-processor SuperCluster system consists of four computing clusters, a system services cluster, and two NCUs. Additional units can be connected to form systems of 128, 256, 512, or more processors."

GRAPHICS SUPPORT (p. 125). "Digital Equipment now offers GKS (Graphical Kernel System) and PHIGS (Programmer's Hierarchical Interactive Graphics System) on Ultrix and VMS systems running the DECwindows environment.

"DEC GKS V4 and DEC PHIGS V2 support VAX workstations, including the VAXstation 3520 and 3540, which offer 2D and 3D graphics. The 2D support is based on the X Window system, while the 3D support is based on the proposed PEX (PHIGS + extensions for X11) standard."

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