The Community for Technology Leaders

32 & 16 Years Ago

Pages: pp. 16-17

December 1980

PRESIDENT'S MESSAGE (p. 3) "The first thing that comes to my mind is the society membership, which has continuously and significantly increased during the past two years—from 38,701 (or less than one fifth of the total IEEE membership) at the beginning of 1979 to the projected end-of-year figure of 51,000 (about one quarter of the total IEEE membership). …"

USABILITY (p. 6) "In the interests of human engineering and so we won't appear to be a complete set of nits, I wish to suggest that for our next Computer Society election we print the 'punch-out' boxes as the leftmost column on the ballot, followed closely by the names of the candidates. This would eliminate the myriad problems in alignment and registration experienced in the recent election by those like myself with minimal motor skills and visual acuity."

VIDEOTEX (p. 8) "… second-generation systems are being planned and discussed, and viable videotex services are rapidly evolving into public information utilities. These utilities will offer a variety of information services and transactions, such as retrieval from multiple independent data bases, messaging, electronic mail, conferencing, banking, teleshopping, and interest matching. In second-generation systems the emphasis is more on videotex as a communication medium rather than as a simple information retrieval system. Future systems will move toward two-way communication among users as well as between users and information providers."

INSTRUMENTING PROGRAMS (p. 17) "Symbolic traces increase error-detection capabilities of program tests and indicate the extent of their coverage. This instrumentation system generates traces automatically upon program execution."

PROGRAMMING SOLO (p. 24) "The unique situation of the individual programmer warrants a specialized guide to verification and testing. The programmer who works alone performs all management tasks, and lacks independent internal or external quality assurance groups. However, his tasks are usually of an intellectually manageable size, and he does not face many of the problems encountered in larger systems—coordination among programmers and massive integration, for example."

TUTORIAL ON PROCESS CONTROL (p. 35) "Progress in electronic hardware alone will not ensure success in measurement and control of nonelectronic processes. Nevertheless, the future for stored program controllers has never seemed brighter."

WORKSHOP ON VLSI DESIGN (p. 51) "Fault-tolerant techniques are needed in VLSI design. But, which of the familiar ones are appropriate? Should they be applied on-chip or in multiple-chip systems? What areas require the development of new techniques? These and similar problems were discussed at the Workshop on Fault-Tolerant VLSI Design, …"

COMMUNICATION (p. 73) "Software people do not communicate well with colleagues from more established disciplines. Our noses are too close to the software grindstone for us to begin to understand our place in the broader world. When we do attempt to communicate, the information is often too cryptic for outsiders to understand or simply wrong, especially when the subject of the communication is a time estimate for a software job."

WHAT IS SOFTWARE? (pp. 73-74) "We no longer ask whether we shall use software to solve a given problem—software is the way of the digital-computer-controlled future. The question has become, How can we better understand what software is and is not? …"

CAMERA COUPLING (p. 85) "Magicam's Programmable Motion Control system is an outgrowth of a system used in the filming of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and scores of commercials. Magicam's underlying techniques are being extended to applications in computer-aided manufacturing, numerical control, model board and hybrid simulators, microwave and tracking cameras, animation stands, optical printers, and repeat-pass photographic systems."

COMPCOM SPRING 81 (p. 87) "Nobel Laureate Herbert A. Simon, professor of computer science and psychology at Carnegie-Mellon University, will present the special address, 'Prometheus or Pandora: The Influence of Automation on Society.' Simon states that automation, made possible by rapidly advancing computer technology, promises to be the major source of increased productivity we need in our economy. But he goes on to ask, 'How can we realize these benefits without incurring the heavy social cost of unemployment, alienation from work, and loss of privacy and freedom?'"

December 1996

VIDEODISCS (p. 14) "Digital videodisc (DVD) technology, which has been touted as the next hot consumer electronics technology, has apparently overcome problems involving format standards and security, and is scheduled to debut this Christmas."

GOLDEN CHIPS (p. 17) "Purdue University researchers are coating microchips with gold in an attempt to develop nanotechnology that would permit the manufacture of ultrasmall computer components.

"The researchers have created a thin gold film coating that conducts electricity by inducing electrons to hop from one gold cluster to another one at a time. (Each cluster consists of 2,400 gold atoms.) Using this technology would cause less heat buildup than using conventional silicon-based circuits, which have continuous currents flowing through them."

TRUE SEABORN (p. 24) "This is the last issue of Computer to appear during my tenure [as IEEE CS publisher], the last during the Computer Society's 50th anniversary year, and the last before we launch a redesigned Computer. After 23 years on the job, the timing seems right to make a few remarks about how Computer got where it is today and what we hope to achieve next year."

MULTIPROCESSORS (p. 29) "Shared memory multiprocessors have been used mostly to increase the throughput of independent jobs, rather than to speed up the execution of an entire application. The main reason their use has been restricted is the lack of mature compiler technology, which has made parallel programming a privilege for experts only. However, the wide availability of these systems over the last couple of years is changing this situation …"

MAKING DECISIONS (p. 33) "Probabilistic inference is becoming an integral part of decision-making systems, but it is so computationally intensive that it is often impractical. The authors report on the effectiveness of speeding up this technique by exploiting its parallelism."

VIZUALIZATION (p. 42) "Visualization applications—such as flight simulators and virtual reality environments—use geographic information systems to represent actual terrain. Applications like these impose stringent restrictions on acceptable performance and response time. Sequential methods do not meet these requirements, but parallel methods can."

MASSIVE PARALLELISM (p. 50) "Can scientific programming on a distributed-shared-memory multiprocessor architecture be made as easy and efficient as it is on vector supercomputers? Maybe, but we're not there yet."

PARALLEL PERFORMANCE (p. 57) "In this article, we present the performance of 14 applications on the [MIT] Alewife machine, including both coarse- and fine-grain applications. Not surprisingly, Alewife's mechanisms support the good performance of traditional coarse-grain applications …. But we also show that Alewife provides excellent communication mechanisms for fine-grain applications …"

PARALLEL COMPILING (p. 78) "Parallel programming tools are limited, making effective parallel programming difficult and cumbersome. Compilers that translate conventional sequential programs into parallel form would liberate programmers from the complexities of explicit, machine-oriented parallel programming. Polaris, an experimental translator of conventional Fortran programs that target machines such as the Cray T3D, is the first step toward this goal."

PARALLEL EFFICIENCY (p. 84) "Locating parallelism is just the first step in producing efficient multiprocessor code. Achieving high performance also requires effective use of the memory hierarchy, and multiprocessor systems have more complex memory hierarchies than typical vector machines: They contain not only shared memory but also multiple levels of cache memory."

COPYRIGHT (p. 111) "The Trumpet Winsock case is important to software owners, Internet service providers, and others who distribute software. The court ruled that shareware distributed on the Internet has copyright protection and that no one can imply a general license that forces shareware owners to abandon copyright protection and retain only those rights expressly reserved in the software license."

ADDRESSES (p. 112) "The other IETF proposal, called IP Version 6 or IP Next Generation, would establish 128-bit-long addresses. This would allow far more addresses than the 32-bit system, so it would better accommodate Internet growth. However, this plan would also require development of new TCP/IP software versions, which could be an expensive and time-consuming process."

PARALLEL PERFORMANCE (p. 152) "… The most important impediment may be the mathematical way we represent problems. This may not be the most effective way to represent problems for solution by parallel machines. Therefore, if we want to realize parallel processing's tremendous potential, we may need to focus our attention on problem representation."

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