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SPECIAL FEATURE: Computing in China, 1978

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000131381D
Original Publication Date: 1979-Mar-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Document File: 24 page(s) / 81K

Publishing Venue

Software Patent Institute

Related People

Harvey L. Garner: AUTHOR [+3]

Abstract

[Figure containing following caption omitted: Last September a Computer Society delegation visited the People's Republic of China. This report summarizes the trip and offers one member's assessment of Chinese computer technology.] The People's Republic of China now has a 20-year history of digital computation. The initiation of a computer development program in China was motivated by the belief that digital computers would be essential for the development of a modern, industrialized nation. China's program has been strongly influenced by concepts in computer design from Russia and the West, and computer developments from abroad appear to have been carefully studied and evaluated in the context of China's needs. However, though the Chinese have learned from others, their primary objective has been to establish a self-sufficient industry providing adequate computing power. None of the events since the death of Mao and the installation of Hua as premier in 1976 indicates a change in this objective.

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THIS DOCUMENT IS AN APPROXIMATE REPRESENTATION OF THE ORIGINAL.

This record contains textual material that is copyright ©; 1979 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.

SPECIAL FEATURE: Computing in China, 1978

Harvey L. Garner

University of Pennsylvania

(Image Omitted: Last September a Computer Society delegation visited the People's Republic of China. This report summarizes the trip and offers one member's assessment of Chinese computer technology.)

The People's Republic of China now has a 20-year history of digital computation. The initiation of a computer development program in China was motivated by the belief that digital computers would be essential for the development of a modern, industrialized nation. China's program has been strongly influenced by concepts in computer design from Russia and the West, and computer developments from abroad appear to have been carefully studied and evaluated in the context of China's needs. However, though the Chinese have learned from others, their primary objective has been to establish a self-sufficient industry providing adequate computing power. None of the events since the death of Mao and the installation of Hua as premier in 1976 indicates a change in this objective.

One cannot discuss the history of Chinese affairs between 1958 and 1978 without noting the decade encompassing the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976) and the activities attributed to the "Gang of Four." Available information is not adequate to allow us to determine the effects of the strife and change of this period on the development and use of computers. It is clear, however, that some development and construction continued in spite of the difficulties. One obvious product of this period is the neighborhood factory. The "Door Handle Factory" (where the C-2 and 709 computers were built) and the "Torch Semiconductor Factory" (where ICs are built) are examples. These will be discussed later.

Chinese universities are returning to normal operations, but the loss of a decade of technical and scientific university- trained graduates must have a serious, detrimental effect on research, development, and application of computers.

The development of computers and computation in China has been uneven. One cannot say, "The state of computing in China corresponds to the situation that existed in the US in 19xy." There are three main reasons for this:

(1) The US experienced a computer explosion beginning about 1962, when an ample number of computers were available and high-level languages made computation available to people who were not computer specialists. Subsequent developments in languages, operating systems, and architecture have been motivated by user needs. Such an explosi...