Computer technology” redirects here. For the company, see Computer Technology Limited. For other uses, see Computer (disambiguation).

The Columbia Supercomputer, located at the NASA Ames Research Center.

An HP laptop computer.

A computer is a programmable machine that receives input, stores and manipulates data, and provides output in a useful format.

While a computer can, in theory, be made out of almost anything (see misconceptions section), and mechanical examples of computers have existed through much of recorded human history, the first electronic computers were developed in the mid-20th century (1940–1945). Originally, they were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (PCs).[1] Modern computers based on integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early machines, and occupy a fraction of the space.[2] Simple computers are small enough to fit into mobile devices, and can be powered by a small battery. Personal computers in their various forms are icons of the Information Age and are what most people think of as “computers”. However, the embedded computers found in many devices from MP3 players to fighter aircraft and from toys to industrial robots are the most numerous.

History of MIT Information Services and Technology  
MIT Information Systems was created under the office of the senior vice president in January 1983. An Information Systems Group was formed at that time by bringing the Institute’s Information Processing Services and Telecommunications Systems organizations into one administrative unit. The group was headed by the director of information systems, who, in addition to managing the group, was responsible for oversight of MIT’s educational, research, and administrative computing and telecommunications resources. These resources included central and departmental/laboratory computer facilities, computer networks, and personal computers, as well as office automation and word processing systems. James D. Bruce, professor of electrical engineering, was appointed director. Information Systems went through several organizational transformations as the information technology infrastructure at MIT grew. In July 1986 Bruce became the first vice president for information systems. By 1992-1993 the office was divided into six departments: 1) Academic Computing Services, formed to promote and enable effective use of information technology in MIT education and scholarship; 2) Administrative Systems Development, formed to provide application development and related services in partnership with administrative units that support MIT’s research, education, and business needs; 3) Computing Support Services, involved with the delivery of end-user computing support services to the Institute, including the sale of computing equipment and services, training, consulting, publications, and software acquisition; 4) Distributed Computing and Network Services, established in July 1991 as a merger of Network Services with Project Athena’s operation and development activities to provide a campus-wide distributed computing infrastructure that supports education, research, and administration; 5) Operations and Systems, which provides a central computing facility and technological leadership that delivers computing services in a distributed computing environment that supports the Institute’s business needs; and 6) Telecommunications Systems, intended to provide coherent, universal, easily accessible telecommunications systems throughout MIT. In March 1995 Information Systems was again reorganized to deliver “great systems fast” and to support dramatic increases in network-based applications and the number of users expected to increase from reengineering initiatives. The new team-oriented, process-driven framework was composed of five work processes: 1) Discovery, to frame technology solutions to be delivered to the MIT community efficiently and effectively; 2) Delivery, to realize business value as rapidly as possible from the implementation of new information technology products and services; 3) Integration, to implement an information technology infrastructure with high levels of reliability, availability, and serviceability; 4) Service, to keep MIT’s information technology infrastructure running in a reliable and efficient manner; 5) Support, to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of timely, high-quality support to the Institute’s information technology users; and three practices: Academic Computing, to promote and enable MIT education through the effective use of computers and other information technologies; Office Computing, to ensure that office computing customers derive maximum value from MIT’s information technology resources; and Voice, Data, and Image Networking. In addition, Competency Groups were established to ensure that appropriately skilled human resources are available to staff IS’s processes and projects.

James D. Bruce served as director of information services 1983 to 1986; and as vice president for information systems 1986 to 2003. In 2003, Jerrold Grochow succeeded Bruce as vice president for information services and technology.

Grochow oversaw the merging of Information Systems and Financial Systems Services into a new organizational unit, Information Services and Technology (IS&T). In 2005, Student Services Information Technology (SSIT) also became part of IS&T. In 2006, Administrative Computing and SSIT were combined to form the Student and Administrative Information Systems department. In that same year, academic computing services at MIT were realigned to better support educational innovation and improve responsiveness to faculty and students. The Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Education (DUE) formed the Office of Educational Innovation and Technology (OEIT) staffed primarily by the educational consulting and software development groups formerly in the Academic Computing group in IS&T. IS&T continues to maintain academic computing clusters, including Athena clusters. The Stellar development team moved from Academic Media Production Services to IS&T’s Infrastructure Software Development and Architecture (ISDA) group.


Posted October 20, 2010 by marydinnesarino in Uncategorized

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