Multi-Access Computing Research at RAND

by Robert H. Anderson

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An ONR/SDC symposium paper describing aspects of RAND computing research and the military organizational changes needed to transfer such new technology to operational use. RAND's objective — providing nonprogrammers with convenient, natural access to a wide variety of computing power from terminals usable in their own offices — is exemplified in JOSS, in the RAND Tablet, and perhaps best in the Video Graphic System. We are now developing PRIM (Programming Research Instrument), a flexible microprogramming computer to emulate real or conceptual computer systems and permit program transferability. Two software projects, CASAP and The Adaptive Communicator, use "artificial intelligence" techniques to instruct computers by example and analogy. RAND is researching operating system certification — ensuring design soundness, implementation accuracy, and lack of tampering. To obtain the value of their R&D support, agencies funding research should also fund the results' transfer to operational use. An information specialist at Assistant Chief of Staff level is recommended to coordinate technology transfer and use.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Paper series. The paper was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1948 to 2003 that captured speeches, memorials, and derivative research, usually prepared on authors' own time and meant to be the scholarly or scientific contribution of individual authors to their professional fields. Papers were less formal than reports and did not require rigorous peer review.

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