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Personal Computers Go To Work

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131319D
Original Publication Date: 1978-Jun-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 5 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Harry Garland: AUTHOR [+4]

Abstract

Several small-scale computer applications illustrate the usefulness of microprocessor-based systems for a variety of industrial processes and business procedures. The development of inexpensive LSI microprocessors and memory has expanded the potential market for computing equipment. We have witnessed how one application -- the personal computer -- has received a particularly large share of public attention. Yet it is by now a common assumption among computer professionals that the application of small- scale systems in business and industrial environments has greater economic significance than their application to home computing. Since the introduction of the first commercially available personal computers, continued technical innovations have led to a typical small-scale computing system consisting of a microprocessor, 32K of memory, a 5- or 8-inch floppy disk, a CRT, and a hardcopy device. The Intel 8080, the Zilog/Mostek Z-80, the Motorola 6800, and the MOS Technology 6502 have been widely used in such systems.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1978 by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc. All rights reserved. Contact the IEEE Computer Society http://www.computer.org/ (714-821-8380) for copies of the complete work that was the source of this textual material and for all use beyond that as a record from the SPI Database.

Personal Computers Go To Work

Harry Garland

Stanford University

Alice Ahlgren

Cromemco

Several small-scale computer applications illustrate the usefulness of microprocessor-based systems for a variety of industrial processes and business procedures.

The development of inexpensive LSI microprocessors and memory has expanded the potential market for computing equipment. We have witnessed how one application -- the personal computer -- has received a particularly large share of public attention. Yet it is by now a common assumption among computer professionals that the application of small- scale systems in business and industrial environments has greater economic significance than their application to home computing.

Since the introduction of the first commercially available personal computers, continued technical innovations have led to a typical small-scale computing system consisting of a microprocessor, 32K of memory, a 5- or 8-inch floppy disk, a CRT, and a hardcopy device. The Intel 8080, the Zilog/Mostek Z-80, the Motorola 6800, and the MOS Technology 6502 have been widely used in such systems.

Because designers perceive unique economic and technical advantages in such microprocessors, they are applying them to a wide variety of processes and procedures which require or can benefit from built-in machine intelligence; these applications range from industrial process control to laboratory instrumentation to medical monitoring and diagnosis. In addition, systems similar to the one described in the paragraph above possess sufficient economies of scale to merit consideration for small business applications.

Industrial and laboratory applications

Industries such as petroleum refining and chemical and textile manufacturing produce products through a number of processes which require precise temperature, pressure, or rate of flow regulation. These types of processes can be controlled by a microprocessor.

One way in which an engineer can organize a process control system is through a hierarchical structure. The control computer occupies the lowest level of such a structure; it regulates a single process unit to hold it to the desired operating condition in emergencies. The next level is a computer responsible for coordinating several units, for scheduling operations, and for optimizing the plant's performance. At the top level is the corporate control computer, which makes available to management current information about its manufacturing operations.

Digital Dynamics, Inc., of Sunnyvale, California, provides an exam...