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The advent of the inexpensive LSI microprocessor and inexpensive memory has upset many of our cherished assumptions about economies of scale. The spectrum of plausible realities must now include computer systems which are essentially one user on one machine. In current parlance these are "small-scale systems," but they are small only in relative cost and physical size. Today's small-scale system can handle most computing problems. This issue of Computer attempts to address the phenomenon of the small-scale user – a phenomenon that will probably change the character of the entire computer industry.