Computer utilization, commonly referred to as time-sharing, is a logical outgrowth of the fact that present day computers have such large capacities and speeds that they are difficult to keep up with. Why not a method whereby many usuers are feeding data and problems to a central processor unit at the same time, each paying only for the amount of time he actually uses the facility. The comparison to an electric power utility or a gas company is obvious. Certain economies of scale are of benefit to all and like electric power it is there to use only as one needs it.
Briefly, a complete time-sharing system consists of a user's terminal, a phone line to a local vendor and a multiplexing system to field many calls at once to a buffer and a central processor unit, quite often in a distant city.
When I was asked to undertake this assignment, my first reaction was to feel that it would be very presumptuous of me to address this particular group on this subject. After all, consultants have been using computers in their evaluations for years. Discounted cash flow calculations by a computer are routine inclusions with almost every consultant's report. Also flash, material balance and gas solution drive calculations are especially suitable for solutions by computers.
Briefly, I was originally exposed to computers in a college course on Statistics. Prior to this I had long felt that they could be used economically by my predecessor company in the property acquisition field. However, not having an inhouse computer, I prevailed on them to let us experiment with time-share. Since most time-sharing vendors will give you a 30 day cancellable contract, and since the monthly fixed charges are quite low (about $200), they condescended to humor me.