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Scarce resources in computing

Ubiquity, Volume 2008 Issue May | BY Espen Andersen 


Full citation in the ACM Digital Library

How we organize computing - and innovate with it - is shaped by what at any time is the most scarce resource. In the early days of computing, processing (and, to a certain extent, storage, which up to a point is a substitute for processing) was the main scarce resource. Computers were expensive and weak, so you had to organize what you did with them to make as much out of the processing capacity as possible. Hence, with the early computers, much time was spent making sure the process was fully used, by meticulously allocating time for users on the machine - first with scheduled batch processing, then with time-sharing operating systems that rationed processing resources to users based on need and budget.

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