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Writing easy-to-use programs for computers.

A TRW engineer argued that too much tinkering with too few safeguards was inhibiting the potential efficiency of computers in 1983. His suggestions for a solution included documentation, use of flow charts, and numerically ordered code.

At least 20 years ago numerous predictions were made regarding the imminent and revolutionary improvement in the efficiency of American industry due to the use of the then emerging computer technology. Today various explanations are made as to why this improvement has been so slow.

One major contributing problem is the widespread and persistent unusabitity of applications computer programs. Applications computer programs may be defined as computer programs that accomplish specific engineering tasks such as analysis, design, data parametric generation, etc.

Most computer programs are unusable, or become unusable over the course of time, because the program itself and any accompanying program documentation are written or modified, usually unintentionally, for the programmer himself or others who are already familiar with both the use and Logic of the particular program.

Similarly a user, usually an engineer, often makes numerous, and largely undocumented, alterations to a program. Eventually he becomes the only one capable of running the program. This is a very inefficient use of the capability otherwise provided by the computer program to the company or to other potential users.

A VERY BIG CHILL

The Largest cryogenic cooling system at the time went online in September 1983. The system, at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, kept temperatures at -450 [degrees]F, about 5 keMn, in the Tevatron particle collider. The tow temperature supported superconducting magnets that guided beams of protons and anti-protons, which collided to create new particles. ASME designated the cooling system an International Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark in September 1993. The system remained in service until September 2011.

BY KIRK CHRISTENSEN, HARDWARE DEVELOPMENT ENGINEER, DEFENSE AND SPACE SYSTEMS GROUP, TRW, SAN BERNARDINO, CALIF.

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Title Annotation:TECH BUZZ: VAULT
Author:Christensen, Kirk
Publication:Mechanical Engineering-CIME
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2013
Words:310
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