How little they know …..

Yesterday I attended an excellent workshop in writing good applications for externally funded research projects af the IT University. Here a short abstract intended for the general public and the non-specialist reviewer is key. We did a useful exercise on this in pairs: First we told each other about a current research project in a few minutes, then we asked three questions about the projects, and finally we wrote a 10-15 line abstract about the project of our mate. Very good exercise, by the way. I told my mate about my project on the role of the IBM 3270 screen terminal (anno 1972) in the transistion from batch processing to online computer processing in the 1970s and 1980s. My mate was an extremely bright and knowledgeable computer scientist in his thirties. It turned out – quite late in the process – that he thought that batch processing was command-line-based interaction as known from DOS.

How little they know about the history of computing …. and therefore: How important it is we address this field!!

Hence I better explain what I’m talking about: Batch processing, dating back to the 1960s–1980s, is [typically] typing your program off-line on a deck of cards, handing the the deck in at a counter, waiting 2-8 hours while your program is being run on a huge, central mainframe computer, and picking up your print on a shelf near the counter. Online processing is having a display terminal, typically on your desk, connected to a central computer. You interact directly with the computer system with a response time of typically 1-10 seconds.

So thanks, mate!


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