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Since the development of the transistor 25 years ago, the digital computer has changed greatly in size, speed, capability and cost. During the same period of time, clinical medicine has also progressed. Cardiac surgery has become commonplace, preventive medicine and mass health screening are gaining in popularity, and diagnostic tests such as the electrocardiogram and the chemical analysis of blood and urine are being carried out in ever increasing numbers. These are just a few of the many advances in medical science which have greatly increased the quantity of information that must be collected, sorted, analyzed, indexed, stored and otherwise manipulated.