Human Element Computer Systems Design Term Paper

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[. . .] While most of his colleagues were busy answering the question, "How far can we go," Dijkstra was asking the question, "Why should we go there and what purpose will it serve?" Many early engineers were developing in an atmosphere where computers handled large amounts of data crunching and were used primarily by the government, large banking systems. It was acceptable for them to be big, bulky, and cumbersome. However, Dijkstra was visionary and encouraged his colleagues to keep in mind the principles of simplicity, and human factors in their process design.

Dijkstra and Hoare were not only concerned with getting the concept to work. They were concerned for the final user. It was not good enough for units to simply share processor time in a random manner. Dijkstra forced them to think about time sharing in the most efficient way, so that users did not have to spend large amounts of wasted time waiting for their computers to finish "thinking." This different way of thinking about computer technology eventually led to the superfast PCs of today. Without this lack of concern for the end product, computer technology would have never become the everyday part of our lives that it is. It needed direction in innovation and a few could keep the end goal in sight.

The mentors mentioned in this paper remind us that it is not enough to learn calculus, physics, and electronic design. They remind us that we are designing for a purpose and that purpose is to serve man. We are humbly reminded by these principles that we are not the masters of our race, but that we are merely servants of it. We must strive to improve technology and make designs more efficient and able to handle the demands that will be placed on them, but we must not do so at the expense of the humans who will be their final users.

It the product is not useful and does not solve some problem for the customer, they will not buy it and all of the time and effort will be wasted. The key anthems by all of the authors explored were to plan and keep the end goal in focus. If as engineers we remember to do only this then we will truly serve man in our creativeness and innovations. We can help to improve lives and build technology that meets the needs of a society that goes faster and continues to grow more complex. Dijkstra reminds us that simplicity is the best answer and Hoare reminds us to remain focused on the whole and not to develop tunnel vision, focusing only on our small contribution. Bertrand and Bunge remind us to stay focused on the true value of our research.

End Notes

Bertrand, Meyer: "Proving Pointer Program Properties. Part 1: Context and overview," in Journal of Object Technology, (2)2, (March-April 2003) 87-108. http://www.jot.fm/issues/issue_2003_03/column8.(March, 2003) 87.

Dijkstrra, Edsger. My Recollections of Operating System Design. Manuscript. Department of Computer Sciences. University of Texas at Austin. (October, 2000/April, 2001) EWD1303 http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/ewd13xx/EWD1303.PDF (March, 2003) 4

Dijkstrra, My Recollections of Operating System Design.,. 12.

Dijkstrra, My Recollections of Operating System Design, 28.

Dijkstrra, Edsger. The Next Fifty Years. Manuscript. Department of Computer Sciences. University of Texas at Austin. (October, 2000/April, 2001) EWD1243 http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/ewd12xx/EWD1243.PDF (March, 2003) 1

Hoare, Tony. Unification of Theories; A Challenge for Computing Science. Oxford Computing Laboratory. (November, 1999) http://research.microsoft.com/users/thoare/Unification_of_theories;_a_challenge_for_Computing_Science.pdf (March, 2003)

Hoare, Unification of Theories, 14

Hoare, Unification of Theories, 12.

Bunge M. (1977). Ontology I: The Furniture of the World, Vol. 3 of Treatise on Basic Philosophy. Dordrecht and Boston: Reidel.

10 Hoare, Unification of Theories, 8.

Works Cited

Bertrand, Meyer: "Proving Pointer Program Properties. Part 1: Context and overview," in Journal of Object Technology, vol. 2, no. 2, March- April 2003, pp. 87-108. http://www.jot.fm/issues/issue_2003_03/column8.(March, 2003)

Bunge M. (1977). Ontology I: The Furniture of the World, Vol. 3 of Treatise on Basic Philosophy. Dordrecht and Boston: Reidel.

Dijkstrra, Edsger. My Recollections of Operating System Design. Manuscript.

Department of Computer Sciences. University of Texas at Austin. (October, 2000/April, 2001) EWD1303 http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/ewd13xx/EWD1303.PDF (March, 2003)

Dijkstrra, Edsger. The Next Fifty Years. Manuscript. Department of Computer

Sciences. University of Texas at Austin. (October, 2000/April, 2001) EWD1243 http://www.cs.utexas.edu/users/EWD/ewd12xx/EWD1243.PDF (March, 2003)

Hoare, Tony. Unification of Theories; A Challenge for Computing Science.

Oxford Computing Laboratory. November, 1999. http://research.microsoft.com/users/thoare/Unification_of_theories;_a_challenge_for_Computing_Science.pdf (March, 2003) [END OF PREVIEW]

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