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December 24, 1960


Author Affiliations

Assistant Professor of Mathematics University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Mich.

JAMA. 1960;174(17):2161-2162. doi:10.1001/jama.1960.03030170051022

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To the Editor:—  I have read the article by Schenthal, Sweeney, and Nettleton in The Journal, May 7, page 6, on the "Clinical Application of Large-Scale Electronic Data Processing Apparatus" and also the excellent editorial on the subject in the same issue (page 58). As you rightly observe: "Unfortunately the computer has achieved a reputation as a statistical and mathematical machine. Although it does offer tremendous advantages in these areas the abilities of the computer as an information machine should not be overlooked." The article clearly illustrates the power of even a medium-sized computer in these areas. However, these statements do not go far enough. Those of us who work closely with computers know them not as high-speed slide rules and adding machines, nor even as ready-access libraries, but as tremendously powerful tools of analysis, capable of making decisions as complex as man can describe.As one example, some doctors

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