The small computer: Pro and Con

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

ACM SIGUCCS symposium


A university computing center is unique in the diversity of users it supports. It must serve the research and instructional needs of the faculty as well as the information processing needs of the college administrators. Each type of user makes different demands on a computer installation, and for each type of user a different computer system would be best suited. To a faculty member, easy access to the computer by means of terminals and time sharing would be far more desirable than faster memory cycle time or speed of input-output. Administrators would shutter at being required to transfer information in and out of a computer at terminal speeds. Few commercial computer service bureaus are faced with users less compatible from a computer service point of view. These incompatibilities, as well as the companion problem of service priorities, are continually plaguing the university computer center.

The computer center director faced with this diversity of needs is continually performing his juggling act of services so as to offend the fewest people, and periodically he is confronted with the problem of choosing equipment to optimize his services. In this paper we discuss the advantages and disadvantages of the use of a small computer to handle the diverse needs present in the college environment. In particular, we will treat the question of the use of a small computer to meet the computing needs of the small liberal arts college.



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