America And The Computer Industry Essay Research — страница 3

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privatelaboratories–staffed with many programmers and support personnel(Rogers, 77). By 1956, 76 of IBM+s large computer mainframes were inuse, compared with only 46 UNIVAC+s (Chposky, 125). In the 1960s efforts to design and develop the fastest possiblecomputers with the greatest capacity reached a turning point with thecompletion of the LARC machine for Livermore Radiation Laboratories bythe Sperry-Rand Corporation, and the Stretch computer by IBM. The LARChad a core memory of 98,000 words and multiplied in 10 microseconds.Stretch was provided with several ranks of memory having slower accessfor the ranks of greater capacity, the fastest access time being lessthan 1 microseconds and the total capacity in the vicinity of 100million words (Chposky, 147). During this time the

major computer manufacturers began to offera range of computer capabilities, as well as various computer-relatedequipment. These included input means such as consoles and cardfeeders; output means such as page printers, cathode-ray-tube displays,and graphing devices; and optional magnetic-tape and magnetic-disk filestorage. These found wide use in business for such applications asaccounting, payroll, inventory control, ordering supplies, and billing. Central processing units (CPUs) for such purposes did not need to bevery fast arithmetically and were primarily used to access large amountsof records on file. The greatest number of computer systems weredelivered for the larger applications, such as in hospitals for keepingtrack of patient records, medications, and treatments given.

They werealso used in automated library systems and in database systems such asthe Chemical Abstracts system, where computer records now on file covernearly all known chemical compounds (Rogers, 98). The trend during the 1970s was, to some extent, away fromextremely powerful, centralized computational centers and toward abroader range of applications for less-costly computer systems. Mostcontinuous-process manufacturing, such as petroleum refining andelectrical-power distribution systems, began using computers ofrelatively modest capability for controlling and regulating theiractivities. In the 1960s the programming of applications problems wasan obstacle to the self-sufficiency of moderate-sized on-site computerinstallations, but great advances in applications programming

languagesremoved these obstacles. Applications languages became available forcontrolling a great range of manufacturing processes, for computeroperation of machine tools, and for many other tasks (Osborne, 146). In1971 Marcian E. Hoff, Jr., an engineer at the Intel Corporation,invented the microprocessor and another stage in the deveopment of thecomputer began (Shallis, 121). A new revolution in computer hardware was now well under way,involving miniaturization of computer-logic circuitry and of componentmanufacture by what are called large-scale integration techniques. Inthe 1950s it was realized that “scaling down” the size of electronicdigital computer circuits and parts would increase speed and efficiencyand improve performance. However, at that time the

manufacturingmethods were not good enough to accomplish such a task. About 1960photoprinting of conductive circuit boards to eliminate wiring becamehighly developed. Then it became possible to build resistors andcapacitors into the circuitry by photographic means (Rogers, 142). Inthe 1970s entire assemblies, such as adders, shifting registers, andcounters, became available on tiny chips of silicon. In the 1980s verylarge scale integration (VLSI), in which hundreds of thousands oftransistors are placed on a single chip, became increasingly common. Many companies, some new to the computer field, introduced in the 1970sprogrammable minicomputers supplied with software packages. Thesize-reduction trend continued with the introduction of personalcomputers, which are programmable

machines small enough and inexpensiveenough to be purchased and used by individuals (Rogers, 153). One of the first of such machines was introduced in January1975. Popular Electronics magazine provided plans that would allow anyelectronics wizard to build his own small, programmable computer forabout $380 (Rose, 32). The computer was called the +Altair 8800+. Itsprogramming involved pushing buttons and flipping switches on the frontof the box. It didn+t include a monitor or keyboard, and itsapplications were very limited (Jacobs, 53). Even though, many orderscame in for it and several famous owners of computer and softwaremanufacturing companies got their start in computing through the Altair. For example, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, founders of Apple Computer,built a much