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September 16, 1960 - Image 9

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1960-09-16

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

THE MIHIGAN DAILY.Z

itt P
By PHILIP SHERMAN
A new technique for using com-
ters may ultimately eliminate
ich of the drudgery commonly
iociated with term paper writ-,
,.
The technique is simply a new
ithod of information retrival de-j
oped by the University of Pitts-
rgh. It's but one example of the
panding use of computers in!
n-scientific educational fields.
(The importance of computers
education was emphasized by
s week's conference at the Uni-
'sity on "The Use of Computers
Undergraduate Engineering In-

ioneers

Computer

Applications,

c« .

though such laws exist and are in-
cluded in the manual.-
Fed into Computer
The Pitt system remedies this.
All the information is originally
fed into the computer. When the
user wants noise laws, he feeds'
the code for the word "noise"
into the machine, which prints all
sections that contain it,
Through some irrelevant pass-
ages slip in, the computer's
printer, operating at several thou-
sand words per minute, is fast
enough to get out all the informa-
tion quickly.
Within the computer, each word

1

puters directly from the printed cal know-how is already available. these students for
text, bypassing the expensive tap- 'Project Talent' ing information to
ing, pocess.Another job computers are do- stock, seeking st
To Program brarses.ing for Pitt educators is a huge sonality and econor
study of American high school Speed andt
In time, entire libraries could students, called "Project Talent."
be programed into computers, Kehl said data from tests of Projects like this
which could gather much infor- "aptitude and ability" administer- 'beore, but "nothini
mation mechanically from already ed to 500,000 high school students been attempted, l
available sources, freeing scholars last spring were put on cards- speed and capacit
for original research. there are 5.5 million cards, each puter makes it pos
This stage, he admits, is many containing 160 bits of information (At Nashville's G
years and millions of dollars in -and fed into the computer. College for Teach
the future, but enough technologi- The Pitt educators. will follow and capacity of big
ha nt to tnhs

20 years, add-I
the computer's
tistics on per-
mic level.
Capacity
have been tried
g so huge' has
Kehl said. The
y of the com-
sible.
George Peabody1
ers, the speedl
computers will;

struction.") is catalogued as to which section
Other educational computer or document it comes from, and
tasks being formulated at Pitt in- where it is located within -the
clude conduct of a huge educa- document, (A word, 2270049, is the
tional-sociological survey whose 22,700th word in the 49th docu-
sample includes 500,000 high ment.)i
school students and development With its fantastic operating
of new business games in conjunc- speeds, the computer can quickly
tion with private corporations. reassemble the component words
Business Operations into complete texts.
Pitt's administration is also get- Superior to Others
ting ready for computer use in This information retrival sys-
its business operations. tem, which is superior to others
One application of a big com- which simply speed up a clerical
puter, as described by William B. process that is still bound to sin-
Kehl, director of Pitt's Computing gle index systems, has even more
Center, is a new information re- promise for the future, Kehl says.
trival plan that is not bound by He visualizes that in 10 years,
the limits of present indexing sys- "character reading machines on a
tems. The system, evolved original- commercial basis" will be avail-
ly for a hospital law manual, able. These machines could make
works in this fashion: tapes that would be fed directly
A hospital administrator wants into computers, which would use
to find noise laws related to hos- them as "source documents."
pitals. The manual, indexed for Even better, Kehl says, would
hospital administrators, shows no be adaptation of character read-
particular section for noise laws, ing machines to program the com-

TO INCREASE UNDERSTANDING:
Comp Edu tonfr se s

I V'

oe put vo ano ner use: Usingi
achievement test answers to'
evaluate entire school systems.
All the students in a system take
the tests, then the answers are
fed into the computer for analysis.
4, for instance, few students can
identify John Peter Zenger, it
may mean the schools' American
history courses need beefing up.)
Business Games
Another project Kehl's group
has carried out is creation of new
business games - hypothetical

exercises-for the Pitt Business
School.
One game that has received na-
tional attentionwas designeddin
collaboration with a national dis-
tributor of plumbing supplies, who
wanted a "micro-economic study"
of its market. The computer is
able to simulate the behavior of
individual customers so accurate-
Iy, the results of the games play-
ed with it can be turned into cor-
porates -and local area planning.
Conventional business opera-
tions will go on the computer, in-
cluding budget accounts, inven-
tories, payroll administration, and
personnel statistics.
Student records'. will also be
transferred from punch cards to
tape suitable for a big computer
to take advantage of its speed.
Pitt will make its class sched-
lues with the computer, though
Montgomery doubts the same can
be done with rooms. "There are
too many variables," he explains.

t t 'ii

A desire by experts on com-
puters that their amazing ma-
chines be more widely understood
has resulted in a University work-
shop and conference on computers.
The workshop, attended by 70
faculty members from 24 colleges
and universities, was designed for
exchanges of new information on
the use of computers.
Conference Gets Report
Activities at the conference in-
cluded a report on the use of
computers around the country, a
preliminary statement about the
results of the University's Ford
Foundation project on the use of'
computers in undergraduate edu-
cation and an address by Prof. R.

_ll _ _ _

GUIID

IHOUISIE

Congregational

Desciples, E & R, Campus Ministry

W. Hamming of Bell Laboratories
and Stanford University.
Prof. Hamming suggested that
courses on the use of computers
could be taught in a way similar
to music appreciation courses. He
explained that students should be
taught the basic ideas behind ap-
plications of the machines instead
of techniques.
"Computers are bringing, after
all, a revolution in the world of
control and ideas, comparable to
or greater than the industrial
revolution," Prof. Hamming said.
Students Need Preparation
"Since we expect the students
to live through this revolution and
on to the year 2,000, it is the duty
of their universities to prepare
them as well as possible to meet
this future.
"The industrial revolution freed
man from being a beast of burden,
living by his muscle power," he
continued. "The computer revolu-
tion, will free him from dull
mechanical routine living by his
conditioned nervous responses.
The' implications of t h e s e
changes are very fundamental to
our present way of life."
.U' Takes Steps
In addition to the conference,
the University is taking other
steps to improve computer educa-
tion. This is partly due to the im-
pact of the Ford Foundation proj-
ect at the University, Prof. Donald
L. Katz, chairman of the chemical
.and metallurgical engineering de-
partment, explained.
The three-year project, which
was begun last fall, has received
a $900,000 grant from the founda-
tion.
This fall the University will of-
fer Mathematics 73, a one hour
course for sophomores on the uses
of computers, which is intended to
emphasize programming tech-
niques.
A series of lectures on com-
puters, as well as a series of
faculty luncheons, both beginning
next week, are also part of the
University program. The lecture
series will begin Tuesday evening
in the Natural Science Aud.

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C. GREY AUSTIN, Asst. Co-ordinator of Religious Affairs
In Dialogue With Students
OPEN HOUSE
Refreshments at Guild House following

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