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Applications of Microcomputers in Bridge Design
Love, Ronald A.
Wallace T. McKeel, Jr.
Year: 1986
VTRC No.: 86-R28
Abstract: The utilization of microcomputers in bridge design activities in state transportation departments was evaluated through contacts with 32 state agencies. While the present utilization of microcomputers was found to be limited, subsequent research showed the current generation of 16-bit machines to offer significant advantages in complementing existing computing facilities in a manner that fully utilizes the power of both mainframe and microcomputer. The ability of microcomputers to run large bridge design applications in a stand-alone mode was demonstrated by successfully downloading and converting 4 mainframe programs. Running design and analysis programs in a stand-alone mode frees the mainframe CPU and increases access to software which can be run repetitively without mainframe cost considerations. When access to larger applications on the mainframe are required, the microcomputer used as an intelligent terminal can process input data locally and send it to the mainframe for processing. Output data, in return, can be downloaded to the microcomputer and reviewed off-line or input into microcomputer applications such as spreadsheets or graphics packages for further processing.