IEEE Computer Volume 11 Number 10 -- BOOK REVIEWS
Original Publication Date: 1978-Oct-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2005-Nov-10
Software Patent Institute
IEEE Computer Society: OWNER [+2]
BOOK REVIEWS * B78-26 Computers in the Navy -- Jan Prokop, ed. * B78-27 Instrumentation for Psychology -- A. Cleary * B78-28 Advances in Computer Architecture -- Glenford J. Myers
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B78-26 Computers in the Navy -- Jan Prokop, ed.
(Annapolis, MarylandNaval Institute Press, 1976, 243 pp.)
Computers in the Navy is a collection of 15 diverse articles by various authors who unfortunately failed to agree on their target audience. The book attempts to cover the entire spectrum of computer usage from procurement, evaluation, and management of both hardware and software to the specifics of various applications. Consequently, it is difficult to imagine any one person being inter ested in the entire book or even a large portion of it. This is especially true in light of the superficial, exclusively non-technical coverage given each of the topics. It should also be mentioned that, excepting three articles specifically discussing Navy procedures for procurement and data processing management, the topics are not unique to the Navy. All have counterparts in the other military services and, generally, in many civilian areas.
While one would expect a certain brevity in the articles of a book such as this, many of the articles present a maddening combination of superficiality and trivial detail. Do we need to know, for instance, that 1961 Bureau of the Budget Circular A-54 established certain policies for the selection and requisition of data processing equipment? Who, other than a very Junior trainee bureaucrat, would care to know that Circular A 54 was interpreted by DOD Directives 5100.40 and 4~05.55? On the side of the superficial, we have an eight-page article entitled "Evaluating Compilers" (with page labels reading "Evaluating Computers"). It spends a page and a half defining "compiler," a page discussing the specification of language syntax and semantics, a page giving the history of Cobol standardization, a page motivating compiler validation, and (finally!) three and a half largely anecdotal pages discussing Cobol compiler validation as provided by the Federal Cobol Compiler Testing Service. The article explicitly limits its scope to Cobol validation, to the exclusion of such topics as compiler or object code efficiency.
An article on computers in naval fire-contr...