Long Island’s Electrical and Electronic History – April 2017

We continue to look at highlights from issues of the Pulse from over 30 years ago. We started with 1981 two years ago and are now up to November 1985. The Section lecture was co-sponsored by the Artificial Intelligence Committee. The topic was “An Expert System for Automatic Spoken Language Classification.” The speaker was Dr. Russ Ives of Grumman Aerospace. He described a technique for identifying a spoken language from 5-second samples. He did so with the aid of a database of eight different languages. This and voice recognition, in general, were new technologies then.

The Long Island Section’s PACE and the Consultants Network organized a talk on “Selling to the Government and Maximizing Your Profitability given by Joseph Nass, an attorney. Mr. Nass had many years of contact administration experience at Grumman.

The Section’s Communications Society Chapter presented a talk on “Design Considerations in Single-Mode Fiber Optic Systems” by Raj P. Dave of Datebit/Siemens. While we take fiber optics for granted now, it was new then. It had just reached the stage where it could be mass produced, and optical communications technology was of strong interest to engineers.

Our Computer Society Chapter presented a talk “Computers in Engineering Education” given by Dr. Melvyn Drossman of New York Institute of Technology. This lecture was particularly timely because PC’s were new and CAD software packages were being developed to assist engineers in their designs. We were at the point where slide rules would soon be obsolete and engineers having their PC near their desk would be ubiquitous. This situation would change the way engineers were educated. The talk touched on these issues and gave examples how VLSI chips are designed and the type of software required.

The December 1985 Pulse announced a talk presented by the Long Island Section and the Association of Computer Machinery. It was given by Grace Hopper, a distinguished software development person. Grace was the inventor of the COBOL programming language. Her talk talked described future developments in automation and its impact on people.

The Antennas and Propagation Society Chapter sponsored a talk on “Low Sidelobe Phased Array Antennas” by Helmut Shrank of Westinghouse. He described techniques that could reduce sidelobe levels to 50db below the center of the main beam.

The Computer Society Chapter had a talk on “The Evolution Of Pocket Switching” by Vincent Jullien of Databit/Siemens. He showed how packet switching allowed large numbers of computers to be networked.
Looking at the high quality and variety of lectures that our Section was offering then, shows that our members had many opportunities to keep up with y rapidly emerging technologies. We look at current issues of Pulse and find the same opportunities to keep up with the technologies of today.

As always, I thank Jim Colotti for putting many of these issues on our website and Rod Lowman, our former Historian, for preserving these old issues.