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Systems architecture refers to the distribution of function and control among elements of a system. It is primarily a structural concept that includes the original meaning of the word architecture in the form of “processor architecture.” This paper undertakes to describe topics of current interest in the evolution of computing structures. It discusses various unit structures that may emerge as the economics and capabilities of technology relax more and more constraints. Of particular interest is the internal structure of a central computing complex, the relation of computing elements and I/O elements, and the maturity of the I/O elements. The paper also suggests that the structures found within a single computing unit may be realized across larger elements more widely dispersed. Hardware and software issues are addressed.
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