Electronics — Some Possibilities and Limitations
BY VIRGIL F. BLANK PARTNER, SAN FRANCISCO OFFICE
Presented at the Twelfth Naval District Electronic Data Processing
Systems Conference, Alameda, California — March 1956
"The potential for application of automatic data-processing techniques
in Defense is both tremendous and immediate. Virtually every known business or industrial application has its counterpart in Defense (usually magnified many times)". These are quotations from a report by the Advisory Committee on Electronic Computers for Defense Business.
Just what do these statements mean to your department, the Navy?
It seems that two points are raised here. First, we must become
informed and convinced as to why there is a tremendous and immediate
potential for electronic data processing; and second, we must become better acquainted with the Navy's business problems in order to determine whether or not they can be solved on these remarkable machines.
Perhaps the only way to become informed and convinced of the possibilities inherent in electronics is to step down from Cloud 9 and look closely and critically at the machine systems and their hardware. That is the fundamental reason for this conference — namely, to acquaint
you with electronic data processing so that you can realize the significance of this development. It is entirely possible that your individual
problem — seemingly insurmountable hitherto — is subject to solution by this new technique. That is what is especially important about this conference. It is an opportunity to expose your thinking mechanisms to an unexplored wilderness of potential uses for the most powerful processing system yet devised for business applications.
UNIQUE CHARACTER OF ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS
What do electronic systems offer that is unique? Is it some new concept in office-machine construction with wholly new characteristics? Is it the novelty of magnetic-tape files? Is it the high level of automation
using the minimum of human supervision for performance of