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The Program of a Large Computation Center1

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000129581D
Original Publication Date: 1989-Dec-31
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Oct-06
Document File: 14 page(s) / 62K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

JOHN H. CURTISS2: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.2 [Computing Milieux]: History of Computing -- hardware, people, systems. G. 1 [Mathematics of Computation]: Numerical Analysis. K.6 [Computing Milieux]: Management of Computing and Information Systems. General Terms: Management Additional Terms: National Bureau of Standards

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

Copyright ©; 1989 by the American Federation of Information Processing Societies, Inc. Used with permission.

The Program of a Large Computation Center11

JOHN H. CURTISS2 2

Categories and Subject Descriptors: K.2 [Computing Milieux]: History of Computing -- hardware, people, systems. G. 1 [Mathematics of Computation]: Numerical Analysis. K.6 [Computing Milieux]: Management of Computing and Information Systems. General Terms: Management Additional Terms: National Bureau of Standards

Few branches of any science have ever enjoyed such a rapid technological development as the science of computation has over the past two decades. "During the past fifteen years," Scarborough says in the preface to the second edition of his well- known text:

  (Image Omitted: the computer has been provided with great and revolutionary aids. The many volumes of W.P.A. Tables, sponsored by the National Bureau of Standards, have met a real need of long standing; the great automatic calculating machines have performed with ease and rapidity many calculations that were prohibitive in labor and time by the older hand methods and hand machines, and they have turned out volumes of tables in a matter of weeks; and, finally, the important journal Mathematical Tables and Other Aids to Computation serves as a clearing house in matters of computation and enables the computer to keep up with progress in computation throughout the world. The computer will be wise to make use of these aids whenever possible. It seems no exaggeration to say that during no other fifteen-year period in the world's history have such great strides been made in the art of getting numerical results. May the strides continue! (Scarborough 1950))

As a part of this development, a number of great centers of computation have been organized in various parts of the world. Some of these are financed by private enterprise, others with government money, still others by universities using both public and private funds. By the middle of 1950, there were some 15 of these in this country which are more or less generally accessible to the scientific public and which operate, or intend to operate, large scale equipment. There were a number of other elaborately equipped computing groups maintained for local needs within industries, government laboratories, and universities.

Now it is natural that in connection with such a sudden development, stimulated as it has been by breathtaking vistas opened up by electronics, there should be a good deal of debate as to how it can be exploited most effectively. In particular, there has been a considerable amount of discussion among members of the computing fraternity regarding the administration of computing: the selection of the program of a computation center, the right way to run the laboratory, and the area of responsibility for the validity of results. There are some computing laboratory directors, for exa...