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The Use of On-Line Graphical Computer Systems for Student Research

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1 Author(s)

The purpose of this paper is to point out the advantages and disadvantages of using an on-line graphical computer for graduate student research. The system itself consists of an IBM 2250 model I graphic console operating through IBM 360/40,/75, and /91 computers. It was hoped that this would provide an interactive graphical system permitting the student to solve his dissertation problems in a novel fashion. The experience gained in this endeavor and the methodology which the student might develop could prove to be even more valuable than the solution of the problem itself and would constitute an integral part of his thesis. The paper reports on the work carried out for a Master's thesis and for a Ph. D. dissertation. The former consisted of an attempt to solve nonlinear programming problems in n dimensions by searching for the optima on a CRT screen exhibiting contour lines and constraints in two variables, the others being varied by on-line control. The other application consisted of developing a simulation language allowing for on-line graphical displays and interaction, and applying this language to the design and analysis of a complex digital computer system consisting, in particular, of a variable number of time shared consoles. The results of this work clearly showed the convenience of an interactive graphic system while underlining the difficulties experienced in operating either with an inherently slow system or a powerful system slowed down by batch background operation.

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Education  (Volume:12 ,  Issue: 3 )