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Do not phone then with a staple or mutilate this card. The slogan of the computer a University of Illinois radio service presents a series of programs about you and the computer from banks to hospitals and from airlines to music. It's application in this team and these programs will give you a glimpse of these countless applications and what they mean to you. Do not fold adds the computer to the engineers slide rule with startling results. Now men can design subdivisions bridges and dams within the circuits of computers. The sounds of construction signify a building already tested and approved by computer. Highways electrical lines and rivers are also a part of this new concern of the
computer engineers are using the abilities of computers for rapid and repetitive calculations to design interstate highways thin shelled dams skyscrapers and flood control projects across the nation. Why are engineers turning to computers with increasing enthusiasm. Civil Engineer John Goodell Goodell engineering associates in Champaign Illinois explained some of the reasons that have made this new tool so popular. The fact that computers are available has. Come about just in the last three or four years for the typical consulting firm. The computers have been around and engineers have known of them but it's been very difficult to actually get ahold of a computer or to learn how to use it. So we now have a great increase in the
number and the availability of computers. And then the next thing that probably effects the increasing use is competition in the Wi-Fi and other engineers are using the computers and we find that they are saving themselves cost in their client's cost and so the engineers are gradually taking over their competition childer and seeing what's going on and deciding maybe they better find out too what's this computer use. Dr. Steven Fenjves professor of civil engineering at the University of Illinois in or about i also has an explanation for the increasing reliance upon computers. There are probably two major groups of applications where the computer has become a indispensable day to day too. One group involves the kinds of problems where to share bulk of computations is such
that one cannot consider doing it any other way. This involves the design calculations of a very large very complex structures of the kind that we are building these days. The John Hancock Building in Chicago is a good example. That was such a radical concept type of layout of the structure that has never been tried before and that could be only very fide and tested through a very extensive set of calculations. And the aircraft industry is the same. So for these kinds of applications people are depending they today on the computer. The other broad class involves problems which are not that complicated mathematically but are sold on us and so to put it to that that the computer serves as a excellent tool. The best example of that is the problem of earthwork relations for the design of high place.
Today's skyscrapers have been calculated to the fraction of an inch by computers engineers to determine the number of beams the structural strength of glass panels at certain locations and the problems of excessive wind speeds. All these factors have been a part of the story of safe construction of a new building. But all this was done before manually. Why is the computer such a welcome tool in this process. John Goodell civil engineer replies most competent engineers would check their work why they did it Mannion or with a computer would. Produce a few results of the problem. It would come about is that the time is so limited that an engineer going through a solution
manually must stop. Pretty much when he has completed the first attempt. Now that may not be the most efficient design. And with a computer. Once you've gone through the first operation if you want to go through the small revision and see what it does to you that's very simple it's just again very momos blinding in speed so you don't take much more time to try out alternate solutions and you can find out whether there's a much more economical way of designing now. The computer does eliminate a lot of minor arithmetical blunders and small errors because it can carry things up much further than is practical for most engineers to carry. And the way significant significant numbers. And the computer doesn't make small mistakes if you have a mistake on a computer it's a whopper.
The expanded ability to calculate rapidly without human error means that new horizons of constructions can be crossed. Mr. Goodell mentioned some new concepts that have been initiated by computers in the mathematics of design and buildings is is quite complicated. And the stresses are higher than design approaches so it's a requires laborious calculations and the computer again takes the real work out of it and allows them to go through and make these analyses and check the safety and check the dimensions. That should be proper. You mentioned hydraulics this is a this is an area where a computer comes in great use. Hydraulic computations are all involve formulas or to the odd power the three has power the five has power of one point forty eight five power something or other and when you start manipulating the with the powers of numbers
then it becomes quite tedious. Kind of an operation computer handles this very simply and it doesn't matter whether you're working straight a straight arithmetic or powers of numbers in fact the computer is normally a program so that you find simple arithmetic hard thing to do. But when it works with powers of numbers that works very nicely. Electrical Engineers are also installing more efficient systems because of designs first tested with computers. The stress is upon an electrical system within a community can be met because peak loads can be calculated and predicted in advance. The sudden addition of power loads because a hot day causes more air conditioners to be in use no longer challenges the communities power system and interface of different power sources going to handle any emergency
situation and can be initiated with minimal trouble. At Detroit Edison company engineers use their computers to bring customers of variety of better service it. Timothy McDonough an engineer at Detroit Edison outlined some of these benefits. The electric utility industry has for years been very adamant about holding down the cost of electric power. We like to pride ourselves on the fact that many utilities in a country have not had any rate increases for the last 20 years and they do not want to have rate increases. Well one of the reason one of the ways that you accomplish this is to use better equipment and the computer is a definite tool that is going to allow the engineer to build the just system morning expensive late and he has in the past but more reliable. And as you recognize in the electric utility industry today reliability is the n word. We don't want any more blackouts. In fact that's probably a word that we should even talk about.
There was another more immediate and constant contact with Detroit Edison customers. Their bills each month. Computers have aided in this aspect of customer relations as well. While several utility companies are going to systems which are referred to as in one form or another is customer information systems. In the past the normal approach is that you keep manual records prepared by the computer on paper or actually prepared manually so that when a customer decided he has a high bill or he wants to turn his power on or turn it off he generally calls the contact calls the company and he has one of the telephone operators in the company and either he is then transferred to a clerk who has his records or he actually talks to the telephone operator who then talks to the clerk who has his records and we have a three way conversation going on here. And if this customer paid his bill three days ago and he's now received it done and he says well I paid my bill what are you sending me Dun's for.
His bill may not have been processed by the computer yet so the clerk he talks to may not be able to give him an answer to the fact of does the company know is his bill paid and therefore you have a customer relations problem and you have an unhappy customer. Now what we're trying to do now is to have an M line computer to have all of the customer records stored and available devices to the computer and have entry points with display terminals. In this case generally not graphic but still a video or TV take display where the customer will call into the telephone clerk who will instead of calling a person with a paper record will take the customer's name or their address or an account number. Any one of the three would probably be sufficient. As you realize some of the customers you had may not know their own name. In fact they may not even know their own address. But hopefully they will know one of the three items you know that the clerk will then type into a typewriter
keyboard. The customer's name or account number and immediately displayed on their video display will be the end customer's entire history record. Peter Unger been head of the computer section of the Colorado River storage project in the U.S. Department of the interior. Also deals with the challenges of electrical power dams control the flow of the Colorado River to provide irrigation and power for the surrounding area. When this project began engineers had to determine the location of dams for optimum production. Once these points along the river had been determined with the aid of computers. Construction began. Residents of the area soon experience the benefits of this Colorado River storage
project. They have discovered that the impact of this project which is still partly under construction reaches even into the individual's pocketbook. It means more pirates nationwide if we more efficiently if we get more kilowatt hours out of every acre foot in arsons or and. With the power companies if they can get more kilowatt hours out of each carload of coal then certainly this reflection of the price we pay. And I think we're all aware of the fact that. Per kilowatt hour the. Price of electrical power is gone. At least it stayed constant in the face of inflationary pressures over the years. More or less the daily operation of such a system may be monitored by computers as well countless meters which indicate the status of the generators line loads and other pertinent data can be followed by computers at electrical utility companies. Even if the meters
themselves happen to malfunction computers may be able to adjust for these emergency conditions and prevent power failure. Mr. Engelman explains how this may be assured. Any input to a computer as we say. Me for my meter which is right on the side or whether it be from. Some sort of. Telemetry or telegraph information or some remote station. Is always checked or within limits like say or. Meeting certain norm reasonable us checks we filter these things and most types of errors that are and. With meters we can recognize. Just as a man watching a meter like you know they know that the thing had gone haywire. Believe the quality that sometimes is difficult to get a man to say no just exactly how did you know that that meter was a
wire wait while you were watching it. Because if he can tell us. How he knows who you are we can write a computer program to recognize the same characteristics. But sometimes it's very difficult. For you wheedling or wrong or something he said and this is a hard thing to get your teeth into but. Generally we can. Get the air out of the. Extensive installation of power lines may be covered by such a monitoring system just as industries use computers to control cake mixing and gasoline processing. Complex input data can mimic the actions of man and perform the highly repetitive tasks so essential to daily operation of business. Even the sounds of a babbling brook are part of the consideration of Engineers now hydraulic engineers may fight a storm threatened city and make available water to a drought stricken state with increased efficiency. Computers at Stanford
University and College Alto California have been programmed with information about the complex hydrological cycle the rainfall cycle which takes moisture from the earth and then returns to the earth that water. Dr Norman H Crawford assistant professor of civil engineering at Stanford has developed a model which can predict the behavior of any body of water in the world. You can test the effect of a new water source on a complex and interconnected systems of rivers dams reservoirs and manmade canals in two minutes with the help of a computer. We can determine how much water will flow through a river but in a whole year Dr. Crawford has said he has also stated these monitor systems will be a very necessary ingredient as man seeks to control his environment. If weather is modified the effects of these actions must be known in advance otherwise he may divert a tropical cyclone away from the coast to avoid $10000000 and direct storm damage only to lose 25 million dollars due to crop failures. Computer simulation of river systems allow accurate prediction of these
effects before an irreversible series of events is set in motion. Every day grumblings about the nation's highways also find their way into computers and Highway Department. Many states are now gathering information to determine the best location for new highways and secondary roads. This data is being analyzed by computer location studies are part of the daily work at the Illinois division of highways in the Department of Public Works and building Milton Keene a computer engineer in the bureau of planning explains how this is done. When we go into location studies or location analysis we have to determine by origin and destination surveys. I'm sure of that most of the you listening audience have run into these along the highways where they have been detained possibly.
I'm wondering what is happening but this information that has been collected on the roadways where they have been questioned and asked where they're going or they're going to where they're from how they're going to get there what they're going to do when they get there where they live where they just came from or where they're going to work. We will analyze this data and this will provide desire lines. This is where the majority of the people want to go. This will now locate the location corridor or the desire corridor. When we have the desired corridor located we will now Couple those with the physical features that would possibly alter the desire line in such a way as to we would have to go around a river possibly go around the city.
And which way we go around would be studied this. Now we get into using the computer too far. Location studies and we'll go into a geological survey maps and pick off contour lines and lay the rough grade lines are horizontal and vertical alignment. And with this would give us an estimate of the cost of the new location. The cost of a new location then would be coupled with the users benefit. And this would be all the people would be using a road. How much adverse travel they would have to use that particular location and the grades on the location would be analyzed to see if other trucks and cars would be forced to operate at a slower speed or inversely a greater inverse grades
would create hardships on. Just how long do calculations by computer take. Mr Keene describes a typical problem for the highway engineer and the time taken in manual solution of it. Normally on a cloverleaf interchange it would take a fairly well experienced engineer somewhere between four and six weeks to get all the details worked out on how a cloverleaf would FET. Once we had this program into the machine this could be done in approximately an hour. We had other operations such as Earth work programs traverse closures and things of this nature where we had fairly close ties on how much time it would take a man or an engineer in the field
to compute it. But once we got in his into the machine it would take about an hour on the machine for every man month or about every twenty one point two days. Does such savings in time mean anything to the average motorist when an automobile collides with another dual highway engineers have any control over the situation. Such accidents do concern the highway engineer through greater detail of design problems may be eliminated on paper before they are translated into tons of steel and concrete. When highways become overburdened with the increasing volume of traffic engineers have other means to correct the immediate problem. Mr Keene describes the system in Chicago which relies on data processing by computer.
The Eisenhower Expressway was designed to handle twelve hundred cars per lane per hour. We are at the present time getting during the rush hour in excess of 2000 cars per lane per hour and we have had almost 25 hundred cars per lane per hour. But when we get up to about twenty five hundred at lookout because anybody hits the brake. Yeah its just jam and it stop. Condition right now. What they are training attempting to do with us is that they are sensing the cars and as the density of the cars when they get too close together as they get. More compact or closer together and the speed starts slowing down. They won't open the off ramps give them longer green time and they will close the on ramps to regulate the flow of traffic on the expressway. And
so delaying they are permitting the expressway to operate in excess of 2000 cars per lane at a longer rate of time than what it was previously capable of doing. Larger engineering firms in the major cities have computers in their central offices to handle their own programming. In smaller communities however engineering firms may not be able to afford full time use of the computer. And the answer still may be obtained from a computer even if it is located hundreds of miles away. Timesharing computer services have been offered to engineers so that they may contact the computer on difficult jobs and get quick answers. For example both Brannigan Newman a consulting firm in Cambridge Massachusetts provides tell camp service to over 30 users in the New England area. A Boston based firm that uses telecom estimates that an engineer can learn to use the unit
in from four to six hours after reading the 100 page user's manual. John Goodell civil engineer in Champaign Illinois describes another such service which is available to his firm within our offices. We have a teletype terminal through which we can actually be directly connected to a number of different computers. We find that very simple you just pick up a telephone and dial a number and when you get the signal that you're connected you start hearing you punch a button then well you're connected at that point. There are a series of things which have to be done first place you have to benefit yourself to the computer because the computer doesn't want to take wrong calls when it doesn't want to take clients that it can't. The owner of the computer can't bill. So you usually have some kind of
a code. The varies with the different firm that you're calling a different computer. And you didn't fire yourself merely by typing on a standard teletype keyboard which looks very much like a typewriter here and then of occasion code. At that point it's necessary to. For the computer to start into a filing operation. And so you musta done a fire job number or some way of knowing how to tell a computer how to identify the job so you can recover the information that it computes for you. The cost of such a system still are high. Computer time and telephone lines are expensive. Is the time saving all that significant when programs must first be written or learned so that the problem may be put into the proper format for the computer. Hayden Harding and Buchanan of Boston explains that governmental agencies are making more stringent requirements all the time. A number of state agencies would formally take the basic design engineering
data to the state operated computer centers for more detailed geometric calculations. Now some of these same agencies insist on preparation of these detailed calculations by the engineering firm. This means that many more figures must be prepared by engineering firms within the same time schedule. There is another advantage to solutions of engineering problems by computer. John Goodell explains how some firms have turned to computers with fervor after a fateful decision and no one from locally that had a hydraulic design problem. And. They decided to. Analyze whether they should do it on a computer or whether they should do it manually. And they say decided that the cost was a toss up and they had the time to do it so they did it manually and then their client said oh by the way we like them like to make a minor revision. Could you you know what would be the cost of going through this and they said oh my goodness gracious it's we just that start all over again.
Whereas if they'd done it with a computer they could have made a minor adjustment in the input cards and run through and probably for a fifth or a tenth the cost they could have had a revised answer. Engineers may be designing sewage systems or spacecraft by computer. But all these applications have a common bond. Peter Unger men of the Colorado River storage project suggests an overview of Engineers use of computers. It turns out that the computer program for example. To. Make sure that we're getting the absolute maximum usage of water in the Colorado River storage project. Employs a technology which was developed to make sure that a rocket ship. Went through an optimum orbit beginning or an optimum trajectory I should say getting into orbit. So the mathematics which is been developed. For strictly space age things has come into
play in helping us you know optimizing. Resources and now we have to be optimizing a water resource of the same things but get into other resources for the conservation of the resources rather be coal or petroleum or whatever. There are areas where I'm sure that it's going to affect us more and more as we go on these this new technology is going to find that it. Can be applied to some very old problems. I'm sure. Do not fold as become the new slide rule of the engineer whether he's designing highways dams subdivisions or heating equipment. Today we've heard engineers explain how computers may help to build better communities for tomorrow on the next program in this series the topic will range from tomatoes to tennis shoe retail and wholesale business gets a helping
hand from the modern computer. Each week the University of Illinois radio service brings you a new meaning behind the slogan of the computer age. Do not fold band staple or mutilate this card. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
Do Not Fold
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University of Illinois
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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"Do Not Fold" is a program about the growing applications of computer technology. Each episode focuses on how different professions and sectors are using computers to explore new possibilities in their line of work. Interviewees discuss how they are incorporating new technology into their work, what these innovations mean for the future of their field, and how they may affect the general public.
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Producer: Johnson, Jiffy
Producing Organization: University of Illinois
Production Designer: Haney, Edna
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University of Maryland
Identifier: 69-19-5 (National Association of Educational Broadcasters)
Format: 1/4 inch audio tape
Duration: 00:30:09
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Chicago: “Do Not Fold; 5,” 1969-04-11, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed September 23, 2023,
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APA: Do Not Fold; 5. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from