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744 pages, Hardcover
First published December 3, 1985
Fundamental to the concept of the general-purpose digital computer was its adaptability to a wide variety of computing tasks. The instrument of that flexibility was the program, whereby the capabilities of the machine were marshaled and orchestrated to accomplish a specific purpose: the processing of a specific set of data to produce a new and more useful set.
There was no time for basic studies or analyses. The engineers placed a large tub out on the lawn, held the wired core arrays over it, and poured over them a polyurethane material, hoping the liquid would dry into a soft coating and and damp out the mechanical vibration. “It was kind of a gamble,” one of the engineers recalled. “We were afraid it might change their switching characteristics, and we had no solvent to remove the material from the cores.”
Generally you find that you need one good idea, not an assortment of mediocre ones or even an assortment of good ones.—Edward J. Garvey