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32 & 16 Years Ago

Pages: pp. 14-15

October 1980

COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE (p. 5) "What is an architecture? In this discussion, we will use the term in the same way F.P. Brooks, Jr., first used it—to mean simply a program representation that can be interpreted. Thus, the System 370 is a computer architecture and a Model 138 is an implementation of that architecture. An architecture can exist without an implementation, but it is of little interest (except, possibly, to a computer architect)."

SINGLE-CHIP ARCHITECTURE (p. 27) "The advent of the single-chip microcomputer in the mid-1970s has brought a new philosophy to computer architecture. Because processor, memory, and input/output logic are contained on a single chip of silicon, the design trade-offs differ from those well proven in the design of computers and minicomputers. Not intended to present a detailed analysis of any one single-chip microcomputer—this article uses various products to illustrate a particular architectural feature which may be common to a number of products."

INTEL MICROPROCESSORS (p. 42) "Intel introduced its first microprocessor in November 1971 with the advertisement, 'Announcing a New Era in Integrated Electronics.' The fulfillment of this prophecy has already occurred with the delivery of the 8008 in 1972, the 8080 in 1974, the 8085 in 1976, and the 8086 in 1978. During this time, throughput has improved one-hundredfold, the price of a CPU chip has declined from $300 to $3, and microcomputers have revolutionized design concepts in countless applications. They are now entering our homes and cars."

SIMULATION (p. 65) "At large scientific laboratories the computer has emerged, in the past two decades, as one of the most heavily used scientific tools. Detailed numerical simulations of physical processes substitute for actual experiments and predict the effects of known or extrapolated characteristics of matter and energy. … Increased use of computer simulation has not, of course, eliminated the need for laboratory experiments. Rather, numerical models must be constantly improved to agree with experimental results."

MICROCOMPUTER BUS (p. 89) "The [proposed IEEE microcomputer standard] bus is a departure from the minicomputer market, where each major manufacturer defines its bus without regard for its potential use by other systems or manufacturers. The 796 bus, though initiated by Intel as their Multibus, is a cooperative industry effort toward establishing a standard for a large number of manufacturers and users of microcomputer modules."

THE ECKERT-MAUCHLY AWARD (p. 106) "… Although many of us think of Professor [Maurice] Wilkes as the 'father of microprogramming,' he received the award for his recent work in capability-based architecture resulting in the CAP computer at Cambridge University. Wilkes delivered a stirring acceptance speech in which he spoke of the early days of relays and vacuum tubes, giving me a sense of time and history past. But as he spoke of the advent of the transistor and the enormity of new possibilities at the time, I had a sense of time and history passing. Now, as we move to the integrated circuit, a new realm is again open with VLSI. Capability architectures and language-oriented architectures are only a beginning."

CONFERENCE REPORT (p. 110) "Much attention is being given to architectural support of operating systems—in particular, objects and capability-based addressing. Rattner and Cox of Intel discussed these concepts in their invited talk. Bertis of IBM described the IBM System/38 and its implementation of data security through capability-based addressing and protection domains of objects. Jagannathan of Bell Laboratories discussed a different technique to implement efficient operating system software. The technique is called type extension and results in a processor architectural definition."

VIRTUAL REALITY (p. 111) "Someone in IBM has managed to preserve their sense of humor. My reporter at the NCC discovered that an anonymous subversive contrived to issue a release, on company notepaper, which might be described as visionary.

"It reads: 'Because so many users have asked for an operating system of even greater capability than VM, IBM announces the Virtual Universe Operating System, OS/VU.'"

"Concluding with the giant's future plans, the release claims that research is underway to develop an even more powerful operating system, designated Virtual Reality."

LIBRARIES (p. 120) "An information retrieval system called the Source that provides news, stock-market information, electronic mail, games, and nearly 2000 ready-to-use computer programs is being tested in libraries across the country through a cooperative agreement between OCLC, Inc., Columbus, Ohio, and Source Telecomputing Corporation, McLean, Virginia.

"The objective is to increase the availability of information in libraries. Over 2000 libraries in the OCLC computer network use and share information about books. The Source will provide immediate access to data not yet in books."

COPYRIGHT (p. 126) "The 172-page Final Report of the National Commission on New Technological Uses of Copyrighted Works consists of recommendations concerning changes in copyright law or procedure necessary to assure both public access to copyrighted works used in conjunction with computer and machine duplicating systems and respect for the rights of the owners of copyrighted works."

October 1996

ANNIVERSARIES (p. 8) "This special issue of Computer celebrates the IEEE Computer Society's 50th anniversary. October 14 is the 39th anniversary of the British Computer Society, founded in 1957. BCS is one of several international societies that have an affiliate membership relationship with the IEEE Computer Society. Next month at Supercomputing 96 in Pittsburgh, the Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery will jointly celebrate their overlapping 50th anniversary years."

TIME LINE (pp. 28-110) An illustrated time line of computing runs through much of this issue at the foot of 34 pages. It is available online as a single item.

INTERNET TELEPHONY (p. 13) "Because of the technology's potential, such major companies as Microsoft, Intel, Netscape, and AT&T have begun developing Internet telephony products. These established companies, whose participation could accelerate Internet telephony's entrance into the mainstream, have joined a relatively small group of ambitious start-up companies that, until recently, had the field to themselves."

SALE OF SOFTWARE (p. 16) "UK Court of Appeal judges have ruled for the first time that software should be sold free of major bugs and should work as intended, like other commercial goods.

"This ruling, believed to be the first of its kind anywhere in the world, sets a precedent for software laws. In the UK, software is now regulated by the Sale of Goods Act 1979. This act requires commercial goods to be 'fit for purpose' when they are sold. In other words, they must work."

NOTE:The following eight items are the published abstracts of the special anniversary essays.

MICROPROCESSORS (p. 27) "The development of the computer and the evolution of the integrated circuit have been intertwined since the first commercial IC appeared in 1961. The author explores microprocessor history and ponders future developments."

DATA MANAGEMENT (p. 38) "Early data management systems automated traditional information processing. Today they allow fast, reliable, and secure access to globally distributed data. Tomorrow's systems will access and summarize richer forms of data. Multimedia databases will be a cornerstone of cyberspace."

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING (p. 47) "Software engineering progress has been spurred by advances in applications and enabling technologies. In this overview, the authors highlight software development's crucial methods and techniques of the past 30 years."

INFORMATION NETWORKING (p. 59) "So far, networks have provided transport. Tomorrow's infrastructure will provide not only connectivity but information services as well. This article explains the sequential evolution of three phases of networking and explores the barriers to realizing the new information network paradigm."

THE WORLD WIDE WEB (p. 69) "The Web marks the end of frustrating incompatibility between computers. Maintaining the interoperability is a continuous, global task."

STANDARDS (p. 79) "Standards are especially important to a young and quickly changing industry like the computer industry: They stabilize technology and encourage investment."

ALGORISTICS (p. 86) "AI is a relatively young discipline, yet it has already led to general-purpose problem-solving methods and novel applications. Ultimately, AI's goals of creating models and mechanisms of intelligent action can be realized only in the broader context of computer science."

SUPERCOMPUTING (p. 99) "Software engineering progress has been spurred by advances in applications and enabling technologies. In this overview, the authors highlight software development's crucial methods and techniques of the past 30 years."

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