In the last 25 years, dramatic advances have been made in computer technology. From 1952-1977 processing speed as measured in multiplications per second increased by a factor of 1500. Storage capacity per reel of tape has increased from 2.7 million characters to 106 million characters and the physical size of a million characters of memory has been reduced from 400 cubic feet to less than one cubic foot.
Because the capabilities of small computers have increased and their cost has been reduced, their use will increase rapidly. Some applications should logically be done on a large central machine. Other applications are more suited to a small computer. A combination of the two provides a highly flexible system.
The continuing rapid changes in computer technology make it necessary to plan carefully to avoid incompatible machines, incompatible data bases, and systems that will not adapt to changing needs.