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Research and Development in the Computer and Information Sciences

3. Overall System Design Considerations:

A Selective Literature Review

Mary Elizabeth Stevens

This report, the third in a series on research and development efforts and requirements in the computer and information sciences, is concerned with a selective literature review involving overall system design considerations in the planning of information processing systems and networks. Specific topics include but are not limited to: requirements and resources analysis, problems of system networking, input/output and remote terminal design, character sets, programming problems and languages, processor design considerations, advanced hardware developments, debugging and on-line diagnosis or instrumentation, and problems of simulation. Supplemental notes and a bibliography of over 570 cited references are included.

Key words: Data recording; debugging; holography; information control; input-output; integrated
circuits; lasers; memory systems; multiprocessing; networks; on-line systems; programming; simula-
tion; storage.

1. Introduction

This is the third in a planned series of reports involving selective literature reviews of research and development requirements and areas of continuing R & D concern in the computer and information sciences and technologies. In the first report, * the background considerations and general purposes intended to be served by the series are discussed. In addition, the general plan of attack and certain caveats are outlined. **

In the first two reports in this series, we have been concerned with generalized information processing systems as shown in Figure 1, more particularly these reports were concerned respectively with information acquisition, and sensing, and input operations and with information processing, storage, and output requirements. In this report we will be concerned with some of the overall system design considerations affecting more than one of the processes shown, such as programming languages, remote terminals used both for input and output, and advanced hardware developments generally.

Affecting all of the system design requirements for specific functions of generalized information processing systems are those of hierarchies and interaction of systems, and of effective access-response languages; the client, system-configuration, and system-usage considerations (especially in terms of multiple-access, time-shared systems), and of system evaluation, including such on-going "evaluations” as debugging aids and on-line instrumented checking or monitoring facilities.

Under overall system design requirements, we are concerned with input-output capabilities and terminal display and control equipment, with proces. sor and storage systems design, with advanced technological developments, with programming language requirements, and with problems of online debugging, client protection, instrumentation, and simulation.

First, however, let us consider some of the overall system design considerations involved in requirements and resources analysis and in problems of system networking.

2. Requirements and Resources Analyses

The introduction of automatic data processing techniques has not changed the kind of fact-finding, analysis, forecasting, and evaluation required for

effective systems planning and implementation; it has changed the degree, particularly with respect to extent, comprehensitivity, detail in depth, and questions of multiple possible interrelationships. For example, a "single information flow" concept 2.1 becomes realizable to an extent not possible before. On the other hand, distributed 2.2 and decentralized

*Information Acquisition, Sensing, and Input: A Selective Literature Review.

** Appeŋdix A of this report contains notes and quotations pertinent to the running text. For the convenience of the reader, noles "1.1" and "1.2" recapitulate some of the considerations discussed in the first report. Appendix B provides a bibliography of cited references.


v. 3

Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 70-603263


The Center for Computer Sciences and Technology of the National Bureau of Standards has responsibility under the authority of Public Law 89–306 (the Brooks Bill) for automatic data processing standards development, for consultation and technical assistance to Federal agencies, and for supporting research in matters relating to the use of computers in the Federal Government.

This selective literature review is one of a series intended to improve interchange of information among those engaged in research and development in the fields of the computer and information sciences. Considered in this volume are the specific areas of overall system design considerations, including the problems of requirements analysis, system networking, terminal design, character sets, programming languages, and advanced hardware developments.

Names and descriptions of specific proprietary devices and equipment have been included for the convenience of the reader, but completeness in this respect is recognized to be impossible. Certain important developments have remained proprietary or have not been reported in the open literature; thus major contributors to key, developments in the field may have been omitted.

The omission of any method or device does not necessarily imply that it is considered unsuitable or unsatisfactory, nor does inclusion of descriptive material on commercially available instruments, products, programs, or processes constitute endorsement.


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