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OCR for page 21
INTRODUCTION The papers in Part II sketch some historical relationships between basic research and industrial practice in computing. m e areas surveyed have been chosen as characteristic; they are not comprehensive. For a more thorough (albeit slightly outdated) technical survey, the reader may wish to consult the Computer Science and Engineering Research Study (COSERS) report, What Can Be Automated? (edited by Bruce W. Arden, MIT Press, 1980~. Paper 2 of Part II, about integrated circuits in general and microprocessors in particular, examines currents in these most characteristic and exploding fields of hardware technology. Basic research in computer science has played a minor role here. Without hardware there would be no computing, but without applications there would be no hardware. m is consideration motivates Paper 7, which considers large-scale scientific and engineering computation. m is field, whose needs inspired the first computers, is an area of computing where research and applications go hand-in-hand. Systems software, the subject of Paper 1, has become to computing what government is to civilization: an indispensable component that pervades and shapes other productive activity. Systems software ideas have come from research institutions as well as from industry, often as much in response to the possibilities of technology as to the needs of users. A degree of theoretical maturity is beginning to be attained in some areas, as illustrated by Paper 4, which shows how one kind of systems software has passed from the hands of practical inventors, through the theoreticians, into codified academic training. It took several decades for computer science to gain legitimacy as a discipline. By now, it is well enough established to have developed a pure as well as an applied wing. Paper 3 describes the way in which this theory influences the computer science curricula, and thus influences the course of industrial development into which graduates are drawn. Another university-dominated field, pure in the sense that it has traditionally been unconcerned with immediate practicality, is artificial intelligence (Paper 5~. Despite years of industrial inattention, and considerable early overselling, this lively branch of academic research has contributed important techniques to modern computing practice. 21

OCR for page 21
22 The most visible industrial computing falls under the rubrics of "scientific. computing, such as airframe design and refinery scheduling, and "data processing,. such as accounting and reservations systems. Organized computer science has always been concerned with the former activity (Paper 7) and with general systems issues (Paper 9) but rarely with data processing per se (Paper 8~. The application of computers to very large scale integrated {VLSI) circuit chip design (Paper 2) is a research area of growing importance. Moreover, Japanese success has heightened awareness of another area of computing of potential importance to industry, namely robotics (Paper 61.