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Happenings: Computing in the 21st Century: A Charles Babbage Institute Symposium

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129556D
Original Publication Date: 1988-Mar-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 7 page(s) / 31K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Arthur L. Norberg: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Director The Charles Babbage Institute University of Minnesota 103 Walter Library 117 Pleasant St., S. E. Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA All of Minnesota's computing and computer-related industry stems from Engineering Research Associates, Inc. (ERA), a company founded 40 years ago in St. Paul. ERA contributed substantially to the overall technical development of computing and, though it is no longer in business, ERA lives on through the many computing industry enterprises it spawned and influenced. To honor the 40th anniversary of ERA's founding, the Charles Babbage Institute of the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology organized a symposium in September, 1986, with the help and support of Sperry Corporation (now part of UNISYS). Academic and industry leaders from all over the country, including the people who made up ERA's original staff, were invited to participate.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1988 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

Happenings: Computing in the 21st Century: A Charles Babbage Institute Symposium

Arthur L. Norberg,

Director The Charles Babbage Institute University of Minnesota 103 Walter Library 117 Pleasant St., S. E. Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA

All of Minnesota's computing and computer-related industry stems from Engineering Research Associates, Inc. (ERA), a company founded 40 years ago in St. Paul. ERA contributed substantially to the overall technical development of computing and, though it is no longer in business, ERA lives on through the many computing industry enterprises it spawned and influenced.

To honor the 40th anniversary of ERA's founding, the Charles Babbage Institute of the University of Minnesota's Institute of Technology organized a symposium in September, 1986, with the help and support of Sperry Corporation (now part of UNISYS). Academic and industry leaders from all over the country, including the people who made up ERA's original staff, were invited to participate.

This symposium occurred at an interesting juncture in computing developments. During the last 40 years, the efforts of the field's professionals (who defined the principal issues in computing as speed, storage capacity, reliability, and applications) and of the entrepreneurs (who found innovative ways to market the new products) created the computer revolution -- they changed the world. Now, the growing sophistication and pervasiveness of today's computers, together with formulation of the philosophy of artificial intelligence, puts the industry at the threshold of yet another revolution.

Symposium participants used the twin perspectives of past and present to analyze how computing has reached its present state, and what that state is. The presentations revealed that, despite computing's obvious new dimensions as both a field and an industry, categories of technological change in computing are essentially the same as in 1950. The technological development path still extends along the original curve laid down in the 1950s, without discontinuities. The path originates with what is referred to as technology push, in which systems are built and applications for them are then sought. Technically, people are still occupied with technology push, with special-purpose architectures, and with the quest for reliability.

As the presentations continued, it also became apparent that new social issues of global significance are beginning to emerge that will require development and implementation of wise policy. These issues and the rapid growth potential of computing raise important questions about the future, which were addressed in discussions of what we can expect in the way of changes. The speakers were unanimous in suggesting that the major impact of computers is yet to be achieved.

In the Beginning

I...