Computer Science Illuminated, Third Edition


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Henry Gantt

"Henry Gantt stands out in history for his development of the Gantt Chart and his influence on modern day management. Born in 1861 in Calvert County Maryland, Gantt led an active life as an industrial engineer and consultant. He worked directly with Frederick W. Taylor for a number of years and in 1917 invented the Gantt chart, a horizontal bar chart that was an innovative way to manage overlapping tasks. Useful for coordinating and scheduling, the Gantt chart was a revolutionary development and was based on time rather than quantity, volume or weight. Henry Gantt also played a significant role in management history as one of the early few who recognized the importance of motivation, a psychological phenomenon, in the work place. He focused on reward systems, where he would reinforce good work instead of penalizing poor work. A pioneer for this management approach, Gantt initiated a new way of relating to workers and emphasized the good leadership on the part of management. Gantt recognized the importance of treating the employee well, and instituted minimum wages and pay incentives for his employees.

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Henry Gantt
Looking for more on Henry Gantt’s life? Henry Gantt’s contributions to computer science are described for you on this website.

Visit the Henry Gantt web site

1960s Computer Operators

Computers have evolved drastically since their inception in the early part of the twentieth century. Today user-friendly interfaces enable people without computer programming backgrounds to accomplish a wide variety of tasks on their computers. Indeed, a continual goal for personal computer companies is to develop program applications that are intuitive and easy to use. In the beginning, however, to use a computer required a high degree of skill and knowledge. The computer was a useful tool, but many people were involved in running the device. A systems analyst, for example, would delineate how a computer would be used to tackle a specific problem and would then pass this information over to the programmer. Once the programmer had determined control and data flow to implement the system, a coder would write down a translation of this information into a language that the computer could understand. A keypunch operator was then needed to encode the handwritten information; computer programs were put on paper tape or punched cards. Finally, the computer operator would run the program on the computer.

Computer operators had a crucial role in running the computer. Often a semi-skilled laborer, the computer operator ran programs in batches, collecting the results and returning them to the programmers. The job of the computer operator may not have been the most glorious of tasks, but it was an essential component to the learning that was necessary for the evolution of computer interfaces.

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1961: Learning to Share
A related and important topic is that of time-sharing. Check out this article entitled “1961: Learning to Share” on a computer history site hosted by CNN for more information on this subject.

Visit the 1961: Learning to Share web site
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