Issue No. 11 - November (2005 vol. 38)
DOI Bookmark: http://doi.ieeecomputersociety.org/10.1109/MC.2005.357
HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE (p. 15). "Historically, the interaction between operating systems and computer architecture has largely been very one-directional. Only recently have engineers begun to more fully appreciate that traditional hardware cost-performance tradeoffs are not entirely appropriate for stored-program machines."
"This unbalanced interface between operating systems and architecture is being accentuated by rapid developments in semiconductor technology. These advances are continuing to lower hardware costs, while software costs, if not actually growing, are at least becoming more visible. As a result, hardware technology can most effectively reduce total computer system costs by attacking the predominant software portion. This can be achieved by establishing a symbiotic relationship between the operating system and the architecture, which requires bidirectional interaction between the two disciplines from the outset of the computer design."
OS AND ARCHITECTURE WORKSHOP (p. 16). "The organizers of the Workshop on the Interaction of Operating Systems and Computer Architecture were motivated by two principal considerations: 1) call the attention of hardware designers to the growing maturity of the study of resource and process control algorithms; and 2) cause software system designers and implementers to focus on the developing trends and capabilities in computer architecture, and on the possibility of moving significant portions of operating systems to firmware/hardware."
MEMORY ORGANIZATION (p. 31). "Potential increases in programmer efficiency depend to a large degree on removing constraints imposed by conventional storage system architecture. The intrinsic problem in any storage system is how to store frequently used items close at hand and distribute the remaining items throughout the system according to probability of usage. The problem results from a desire to minimize the work involved in moving items among the various parts of a storage system. Computer memory systems are unique compared with other kinds of storage systems because the time duration between the use of a single item of information may vary over 12 orders of magnitude. This single fact is sufficient to make computer memory organization a key consideration in computer design. In fact, the overall performance of many computer systems is directly related to the successful solution of the basic storage problem."
ELECTROSTATIC PLOTTER (p. 38). "A high-speed electrostatic printer/plotter that produces computer-generated graphics on 22-inch wide paper was announced today by Data Systems Division of Gould, Inc.
"The Gould 5100 plots graphic material at up to three inches per second and has a resolution of 100 dots/inch vertically and horizontally."
"With the addition of a 96 ASCII upper and lower case character set, the Gould 5100 can print full alphanumerics at 264 characters per line and 1200 lines per minute."
"The Gould 5100 accepts 400 feet of coated paper rolled on a 3-inch internal diameter core. Traveling through the unit, the paper becomes electrically charged and fluid toned, emerging dry from the machine. The toner adheres to the charged areas, thus creating images."
COMMUNICATING TYPEWRITERS (p. 38). "Various important communications modes are incorporated in a new line of communicating word-processing typewriters announced by Redactron Corporation, Hauppage, N.Y. The new communicating typewriters, available as either power typewriters or editing typewriters, interconnect via phone with each other, with IBM's communicating typewriters, with computers, and directly into the world-wide Telex-TWX networks. This is the first time that every important communications mode has been available in word-processing equipment."
IBM LITIGATION (p. 40). "The IBM Litigation Reporting Service, a subscription program to keep companies and investors in the computer industry apprised of developments in the current antitrust cases in which IBM is defendent, has been announced by International Data Corporation, an analyst of computer industry market trends.
"Initiated this month, the service offers timely analyses and commentaries concerning the more significant events in the litigation of antitrust complaints filed against IBM by the Telex Corporation, Greyhound Computer Corporation, and the U.S. Department of Justice."
POCKET CALCULATOR (p. 40). "Sharp Electronic Corporation has introduced a revolutionary new 'ultra-mini' electronic pocket calculator, the EL-805, which operates for more than 100 hours on a single penlight battery and displays the answers in numerals approximately three times as large and bold as those in conventional calculators.
"The greatly extended battery life, higher visibility, and reduced size are made possible by two Sharp engineering and design breakthroughs—the Liquid Crystal display and an improved C-MOS circuit."
STRUCTURED VLSI DESIGN (p. 9). "Designing large, complex integrated circuits with millions of transistors requires the extensive use of computer aids. A structured design method is of major importance for managing the complexity of very large scale integration issues and automating the computer-aided IC design process.
"Performance, cost, features, and time to market are the critical factors that separate winners from losers in the IC market. Not coincidentally, these same pressures also affect vendors of integrated circuit CAD systems. Structured design techniques offer a quick, cost-effective, and user-friendly way to deliver a circuit from its logic design to real fabrication."
BROADBAND NETWORKS (p. 33). "B-ISDN is the proposed basis for wide-area networks that will support high-speed, low-delay, functionally rich voice, data, and video applications. ATM is the target information transfer mode solution for broadband networks, and it allows the B-ISDN interfaces to carry thousands of simultaneous data, voice, and video conversations. The US position calls for the interface structures of a broadband interface to be based on ATM and to be built on emerging Sonet-framed interfaces. ATM provides the technology to integrate a wide variety of information into multimedia services by supporting voice, video and data services separately with varying bandwidth and service requirements."
THE 1987-88 TAULBEE SURVEY (p. 49-50). "The growth of 24 percent in CS [computer science] PhD production is almost twice what we expected. The growth in qualifying-exam passage in previous years and this year point to even more growth in PhD production, and we look forward to 650-700 PhDs in 1988-89 [in the US and Canada]. This is indeed satisfying, but at the same time a cause for concern. Continued steady growth for three to four more years could lead to overproduction. The field still expects to grow, and there won't be steady retirements to offset new PhD production for some 10 years.
"The field continues to be far too young and inexperienced, a problem that time alone is slowly solving. CS continues to have more assistant professors than full professors, which puts an added burden on the older people. In fact, the ratios of assistant and associate professors to full professors has not changed appreciably in four years. As we mentioned in previous Taulbee reports, no other field, as far as we know, has this problem."
THE NEXT DECADE (p. 62). "How will the computer industry evolve during the next decade?
"One developing area is universally available networking. … The merging of the communications and computing industries continues slowly and erratically, but inexorably."
"At present, networking concepts are immature. … The century may end before networked computer communication approaches the universality of today's telephone system."
"What a user in any discipline wants is an unobtrusive desktop device through which requests can be made and responses received in as short a time as possible. Ideally, the workstation or device will be inexpensive, generate little noise and heat, take up little space on the desk, yield output as required, and make hard copy unobtrusively and quickly. Whether the actual processing components are in the box, down the hall, or in a central location some distance away (possibly across the country) should be of no consequence to the user."
SUPERCOMPUTERS (p. 67). "A continuing need in supercomputers is increased, directly addressable memory. This country's semiconductor memory chips come mainly from Japan. The price for these chips is much higher in the US than in Japan, primarily because of Japan's position as the leading producer of semiconductor memory components and our ineffective trade agreements with Japan."
SOFTWARE (p. 69). "Software is rapidly inundating the computer community. Billions of lines have been written, millions more are written every year, and very little of it is discarded. Indeed, the hardware may have been changed, but the software lives on forever."
"The result is part of the lore of the field: 50 to 80 percent of the total life-cycle cost of our software is spent on maintenance, repairs, or enhancements. Yet, the bulk of the literature and the majority of the research examines the process of software development while almost ignoring maintenance."
FEDERAL SOFTWARE POLICY (p. 76). "'Government policies on everything from budgeting to intellectual property rights have congealed over time in a manner almost perfectly designed to thwart the development of quality software,' concluded a US congressional subcommittee's staff report on federal software procurement and development."
A PORTABLE COMPUTER (p. 85). "I won't try to defend the price you pay for a Toshiba 5200, but I will tell you it's the Cadillac of portable computers. It's clearly more than a laptop. It weighs too much, nearly 19 pounds, and it's pretty bulky, measuring 14.6 × 3.9 × 15.6 inches. But when you realize that you have a 20-MHz 386 with a 100-Mbyte disk drive in an easily transported package, you recognize the T5200 as the ultimate in portable machines."
SUPERSCALAR MICROPROCESSOR (p. 90). "Intel claims that its 32-bit i960CA processor, a second-generation 80960 developed for embedded systems applications, is the first superscalar microprocessor. The i960CA decodes four and executes three separate instructions per clock cycle. Multiple instruction processing reputedly allows the 33-MHz processor to achieve sustainable throughput of 66 native MIPS."