[SIGCIS-Members] Importance of history to practitioners

Murray Turoff murray.turoff at gmail.com
Thu Nov 17 14:02:43 PST 2016

Liza I appreciate your comments but i would like to add what i think is an
important observation.

I got my PhD in physics in 1965 but i was fortunate in my last two years of
my bachelors summer I spent

in a naval lab that had a vacuum tube burrows computer that filled a gym
and you could walk through the middle of it.

I than got an IBM fellowship from my graduate physics department in mass
where i was told to go to MIT and learn how

to program on their "large" IBM machine so i could do any programming for
any of the physics professors that needed it.

One things that was definitely exciting about that was a lot of computer
people came from many different fields and it was

highly interdisciplinary around 1960 through about the early 1970's.  But
it was the mathematicians and the management scientists

that were taking over the field with some engineers.  there was very little
social science presence and that is a long story.  The social scientists

did not come back till Ben Schniderman's book (software psychology) in 1981
and after they also got into using personal computers.

The big problem was the attitude of computer scientists was that they could
replace people with programs and every problem had a logical solution.

Experience did not count in making decisions and that upper management
could run their company from their office.  This was the standard MIT

evening program for managers in the late sixties.  While finishing my phd
in the last three years I was a part time systems engineer in the Boston

office of IBM advising.  This leads to many interesting stories in those
early dates.  The IBMer was some sort of priest with a new truth or
religion!!  I was almost fired by showing in one company that the problem
was due to a lack of human communication between different units of the
company instead of designing a massive linear program for them to
implement. We are dealing with the history of computer science we should
take up the many problems and mistakes that were also made in its
history.  Abby
Mowshowitz wrote some good stuff on what could go wrong or right in those
early days.


*please send messages to murray.turoff at gmail.com <murray.turoff at gmail.com>
do not use @njit.edu <http://njit.edu> addressDistinguished Professor
EmeritusInformation Systems, NJIThomepage: http://is.njit.edu/turoff
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