3.287 effects of many MIPS on humanists (40)

Wed, 26 Jul 89 08:31:22 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 287. Wednesday, 26 Jul 1989.

Date: TUE 25 JUL 1989 19:59:00 CDT
From: Jim McSwain <F0A8@USOUTHAL>
Subject: 5th generation computers

A recent issue of IEE REVIEW, 35 (#6 June 1989): 202, contains an
article entitled "The 5th Generation coming of age?" It is an
interesting discussion of a project sponsored by the Japanese
government to build an advanced computer. ICOT, the Institute for
new-generation computer technology, is in its final 3-year stage
of work. Their objective has been to build a 1000 processor machine,
which means a parallel device which has 1000 CPUs (PC-clones have
normally only one!). Each processor will have a 1Mlips capability
(1,000,000 logical instructions per second processing capability).
In comparison a SUN workstation might have a 100klips capability.
Other objectives include natural language processing, automatic
generation of programs, expert systems capability (you explain your
"problem" and based on vast amounts of accumulated data and insight
the machine offers possible courses of action), etc. The Japanese
government has spent an estimate $5,000,000,000 on the project
(some say more than that), and has employed a large number of
experts in the project. Although there is some doubt about what
has been accomplished, HUMANIST participants might ponder what role
such a device, if successfully completed and marketed, might play
in future academic situations as an "expert" system in the humanities
to lower the cost of largescale instruction of Western Civ., etc.
Or what role education in the humanities will play in the future
training of students who face a job market with severly diminished
opportunities for "white-collar" experts... Perhaps the effects will
not be as severe as I propose, but I think it is something we might
discuss and ask questions to one another about various possibiliites.
Regards, JMcSwain f0a8@usouthal