The Community for Technology Leaders

32 & 16 Years Ago

Pages: 13–14

Abstract—A summary of articles published in Computer 32 and 16 years ago.

Keywords—computing history

April 1982

SPECIAL MESSAGE (p. 4) “Conferences and tutorials are a major part of Computer Society activities, second only to periodical publications in direct services to members and to the profession. In 1982, the IEEE Computer Society plans to be the sole sponsor of 13 conferences, and to cosponsor an additional 17 conferences.”

SITUATION DISPLAY (p. 9) “Real-time graphics applications offer challenges distinct from static presentations common to CAD/CAM installations because of their timeliness requirements and input data variability. These factors are important because the current graphics literature, which addresses a variety of manipulations, seldom considers the restrictions imposed by the typical real-time processing environment.”

SOFTWARE COMMUNICATION (p. 19) “Although this article is primarily concerned with the semantics of the logical message, a brief description of the physical aspects of messages is also presented to help clarify the distinction between the physical and logical message, as well as to place the balance of the article in perspective.”

PROCESSOR DESIGN (p. 27) “In 1975 Amdahl Corporation delivered the first of its 470V/6 computers and thereby initiated the era of the ‘plug-compatible’ mainframe. Plug compatibles are intriguing to those interested in computer architecture because they allow us to make a sound comparison of the effectiveness of different designs.”

INTERCONNECTION (p. 52) “This article has described a simple, straightforward methodology for testing and diagnosing faults in multistage interconnection networks. Compared with other methods, its test procedures have one significant advantage: they make test length independent of network size.”

NETWORKING (p. 55) “The problems arising from networking can be better understood in the context of the design and operational experiences associated with one particular Unix network—the Purdue Engineering Computer Network. Of particular interest in the ECN are the load-balancing strategies embedded in its system software. Additional light can be shed on these topics by comparing the Purdue ECN with other Unix networks in terms of network configurations, protocols, and capabilities.”

PROGRAMMING LANGUAGES (p. 70) “Doubts about the wisdom of using valuable computer time and memory to translate a high-level language into machine code were replaced by growing indignation that programming languages were not more effective in reducing the problem of the burgeoning software crisis. … However, the onus must be shared by a large segment of the computing community for being insensitive to the practical limits of programming language technology and for ignoring today's reality that programming is, in general, a difficult task requiring a certain amount of thought, discipline, and insight that has yet to be simulated by a machine.”

PROJECT MANAGEMENT (p. 90) “Stated simply, the root cause of software engineering management failures rests in the overcomplicated thinking process natural to abstract logicians, scientists, and software ‘types’—a process that is reinforced by theoretical, scientific educational goals.”

TELECONFERENCING (p. 107) “During the January 25th emergency at the Ginna nuclear power plant near Rochester, New York, 64 nuclear utilities from around the country exchanged technical information with the troubled plant via an ‘electronic conferencing’ telecommunications network called Notepad.”

TELEBRAILLE (p. 108) “The adaptation of existing computerized consoles for use by blind telephone operators is a problem that the American Telephone and Telegraph Company has recently begun to attack.”

INFORMATION ACCESS (p. 114) “For several years the matter of foreign access to industrial and commercial technology in the United States has been a source of increasing concern to federal authorities, [David S.] Saxon [president of the University of California] agreed. ‘It is undoubtedly true that information in the computer area is particularly valuable to nations whose research in that area lies behind our own—which means just about every nation in the world.’”

APRIL 1998

EDITOR'S MESSAGE (p. 7) “Our work is far from done. In the field of computing, complacency is a luxury no one can afford. In addition to refining our coverage of technical issues, look for Computer to broaden your exposure to other society programs and services. Look, too, for a greater emphasis on communicating how our members view key issues in computing.”

DOMAIN NAMES (p. 17) “A plan recently released by the Clinton administration has shaken a proposal to move the Internet domain-name registration system from the public sector to the private sector. Meanwhile, a court case has shaken the current registration system.”

FORTRAN AND ALGOL (p. 22) “Thus, Fortran was developed against a background of a hard struggle to make expensive computers pay their way. Against that background, purely intellectual arguments cut little ice. On the other hand, the aims of the Algol committee were essentially intellectual.”

COMPUTER ENGINEERING (p. 27) “Often in our hurry to create the future in computer engineering, we ignore lessons from past projects. One project that offers interesting insights, the IBM System/360 Model 91, recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of its first shipment. The largest member of the series based on IBM's most enduring and influential computer architecture, this machine owed much to its predecessors.”

INTRODUCTION (p. 32) “Enabled by rapid improvements in CPU power, networks, and software technology, the drive for automation and information now permeates everything from planning and control to interactive multimedia. Computers now control most of the systems with which we interact. Relying on computers to this degree fosters an urgent need for high-assurance systems.”

PROJECT SUMMARIES (p. 35) “The six summaries we include here represent a cross-section of projects and domains with some strikingly similar challenges. Although they address diverse domains, these reports reveal a set of common criteria for high assurance. Generally speaking, the critical criteria are reliability, availability, safety, timeliness, security, and evolvability.”

INTERCOMPONENT COMMUNICATION (p. 47) “Embedded systems pose special challenges to the specification and analysis of intercomponent communication. Our formal approach lets the interface specifications serve as kernels that enforce safety and simple liveness constraints.”

MULTILEVEL COMPUTING (p. 56) “The keystone of this architecture is a trusted device that ‘pumps’ data from a low security level to a higher one. In this article, we describe the software design and assurance argument strategy for this device, the Network NRL Pump, which can be used in any multilevel secure distributed architecture. We have completed the system requirements and logical design of a prototype pump and are working on its physical design.”

RELIABILITY (p. 66) “Many software quality models use only software product metrics to predict module reliability. For evolving systems, however, software process measures are also important. In this case study, the authors use module history data to predict module reliability in a subsystem of JStars, a real-time military system.”

SOFTWARE ENGINEERING (p. 73) “A joint IEEE Computer Society/ACM task force has drafted accreditation criteria for software engineering education.”

CYBERFARCE (p. 104) “The computer industry today is a comical feedback loop involving executives, consultants, and the trade press. Executives can't get the information they need to make sound decisions from the faddish trade press. Instead they listen only to each other and to consultants.”

COWBOY PROGRAMMERS (p. 105) “The lesson I see for software development is that organizations and projects need process standards the most when their people are most under pressure and have little time for thought. That is when everyone hits a biological limit and when it is most dangerous to let heroes run free without rules or guidelines.”

INFORMATION OVERLOAD (p. 106) “The printing press, broadcast media, and most recently the Internet have all changed the nature of the information problem. Information is no longer scarce. Indeed, there is far too much of it for any one person to review, let alone organize.”

PRODUCTIVITY (p. 112) “A reality that is not universally acknowledged is that the general capability of software organizations extends over a truly enormous range. The difference between the productivity of individual developers is on the order of 10 to 20 times. The difference between the capability of software development organizations is at least two orders of magnitude greater—100 to 200 times.”

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