Volume 2 No. 7 January 1976
NEXT MEETING JANUARY 8, 1976
Golden Carriage Inn, Olympia
COMMENT, CLINT DEGABRIELLE, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, DATA PROCESSING AUTHORITY
The State continues to struggle with the overall question of finances and state services. With an election year coming up, there is considerable concern about any new tax, but at the same time, there is the realization that the public schools, state employee wages, higher education and the general economic situation are all making demands on state revenues. A great deal of effort is being expended to find palatable short term solutions to these problems, preferably with no new taxes. The Legislature will convene January 12 and will focus on public schools, state employee wages and the general economic situation with a desire to meet each problem with a short term solution.
What does all of this mean to the Data Processing community? First, it ought to focus our attention on getting the most for each expenditure of a resource and secondly, on the application of automation to the specific functional areas where the greatest return is available. This focus should result in our devoting primary attention to common systems and to improvement of our existing systems. We should become actively involved with our agency management in the development of tools to increase productivity and to assist agency management to be more effective.
As this year ends, we can take pride in the work we have done and in the climate we have created for data processing.
Data Processing Authority
STRUCTURED PROGRAMMING IN THE VIRTUAL STORAGE ENVIRONMENT
This article has been written to encourage analysts and programmers to keep certain things in mind in developing systems using structured systems design and programming techniques for the virtual storage environment. Service Center Number One will have twin IBM 370 Model 158's operating under VS in the near future. So this becomes a good time to start planning and thinking about virtual storage. Most comments in this article are in reference to COBOL programming.
Structured Programming - The primary goal in the design of structured programs is to produce modular program structure through successive functional decomposition commonly called "TOP DOWN". To control the program flow, logic is used such as if-then-else rather than GO TO statements. Structured programming begins in the design phase producing a set of modules that exhibit certain desirable characteristics. Among these are high module strength, low module coupling, predictability, and decision structure.
Structured programming concepts tend to make a person more organized, egoless code is generated, programs require fewer tests and maintenance is easier to perform.
Virtual Storage - Virtual storage is a technology where information is stored on disk and paged into real memory as needed. A page represents 4096 bytes of information. These pages may be programs, data, operating system subroutines and so on.
In a virtual environment, real storage becomes a system performance factor instead of a program size constraint. As the demand for real storage increases, the paging rate will similarly increase. The result is a decrease in throughput and potentially a "swap-out" of low priority jobs in their entirety.
The amount of paging a particular program may cause is dependent upon the program's structure and its working set. However, paging most often occurs in processing input/output and within the operating system itself. One company determined that the paging within the problem program was only 5 to 15 percent of total paging.
Ideally, an analysis of a sample of structured COBOL programs written without regard to VS and subsequently 'tuned' to VS could be included in this article. Unfortunately, this analysis is not readily available.
The concepts and techniques of virtual storage programming and those of structured programming have grown along diverse paths. Virtual storage programming has evolved largely by looking retrospectively at programs designed and coded by means other than structured programming, and thus has included techniques that are not applicable to structured programming. Structured programming has evolved with little regard to virtual storage, and thus includes techniques alien to virtual storage systems.
As previously mentioned, some programs tend to cause excessive
paging under VS. As these programs have been observed and the causes of paging analyzed a set of techniques have evolved. These "techniques" are generally presented as "things to keep in mind" because the present state of programming for VS systems is much more an art than a science.
Ideally programs should be small enough or real storage large enough so no paging occurs. The worst case would be where each instruction executed causes a page fault. Many job steps use 100 of storage, this equals 25 pages. As program size increases, paging potential increases.
Structured programming has several pluses in relation to VS. First of all, programs are easier to clean up for VS. To keep structured programs some things to keep in mind are:
1. Group main line types together.
2. Group performs of heavy usage together; group performs of light usage together.
3. Group exceptions routines together.
4. Keep the working set low - the working set is those pages that are anticipated by the system to be used most often. Following the above suggestions helps keep the working set low.
5. Modularity should be proximity of usage rather than similarity of function.
6. Reference the data in the order stored.
7. Avoid elaborate search strategies for large data areas and large linked lists if a wide range of addresses are referenced.
8. COBOL files that are used together should be opened in same statement causing buffers to be close together.
9. The COBOL working storage section is allocated in order of declaration.
10. Try not to use alternate areas.
11. Remember that modules created during design and coding phases can be reordered during linkage editing to create better reference patterns.
Although the concepts and techniques of these technologies have grown independently, the two disciplines are not, however, at odds with each other. Very few of the concepts involved in structured programming cause problems in virtual storage. The few that do cause trouble can usually be avoided during the design and coding phases, and alternate methods may be found that more easily accommodate virtual storage. The few techniques of virtual storage programming that do not fit well within structured programming are usually recognizable by those who are engaged in structured programming.
The combination of these two disciplines requires more effort on the part of the designer and the programmer than either one does alone, but together they produce programs that are more easily understood and maintained, and put less strain on computer storage resources.
Information for this article was obtained from:
1. IBM Quarterly Systems Journal Vol. 14, No. 4, 1975 "Structured Programming in the VS Environment."
2. IBM Personnel.
3. Boeing Computer Service Personnel.
4. Classes on Structured Programming and Virtual Storage.
Dick Nelson (U & T)
Ron Hooker, CSA IV with DSHS, will be instructing an 'Applied Thought' course through Centralia College continuing education evening classes.
This course will be listed in the catalog as 'Soc Sc. 203 - Human Rel. - Applied Thought'. Three (3) credit hours in social science will be given.
Ron has indicated that the course will offer students an opportunity to grow in their awareness of self by exploring, experiencing, polishing and reflecting their energy within. It will focus upon thoughts and feelings and involve intellectual work as well as practical application of techniques to direct thought energy.
PLANNING POLICY REVIEW COMMITTEE REPORTS
The committee approved the final draft of the ADP Planning Standard following discussion on each of the comments received from reviewing agencies. Several changes were made as a result of the discussions. The change in minimum planning period in the standard has also been reflected in a change to the policy.
The committee, through George Pickett, will respond to each contributor, reflecting the committee's decisions on each issue raised.
The committee will bring copies of the completed policy and standard to the January ADPM meeting for distribution and will seek Association approval to forward them for adoption and implementation by the Data Processing Authority.
No further committee meetings are scheduled as the committee believes their task will be completed upon Association approval of the policy and standard.
SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT STANDARD REVIEW COMMITTEE
Currently the committee has been reviewing Louis Orlando's draft paper on Acceptance Criteria and Procedures. The committee concurred with the desire to include appropriate words on accepting systems for operational or production use.
The committee also reviewed Jim Michals' draft on Data Security. Several comments were inserted by the committee. Data Security will be referenced by the standard to provide continuity.
The committee discussed the inclusions of structured design in the standard. All were agreed that further information and discussion would be required.
Mike Brackett advised the committee that a Saturday seminar, open to all, would be held on Structured Design and Programming in late January. The exact date of the seminar will be announced later.
The next scheduled meeting of the committee is January 13, 1976 at 10:00 a.m. in room 2F21 of the Highways Building.
RESOURCE UTILIZATION REVIEW COMMITTEE REPORTS
The committee met on December 1st and 3rd to discuss modifications to the inventory reporting package. General agreement was reached on what revisions should be made. Roberta Giovannini will make the corrections and distribute the revised inventory package to the committee members by December 9, 1975. The committee members will then review the document. Send her any comments by December 22, 1975. The committee will decide at that time whether another meeting on the Inventory Package needs to be held. If another meeting is unnecessary, the package will be considered ready for implementation.
The next tentative scheduled meeting of this committee is to be held the first week in January to review the Resource Utilization Package.
LANGUAGE STANDARDS REVIEW COMMITTEE REPORTS
The committee felt that the total number of languages used in the state should be limited. Only those languages specifically stated in the language standard should be used. The committee felt that as new languages are developed, a review and acceptance procedure should be established. This procedure would involve a complete testing of any new language. However, before any new language is included into the language standard the Association of Data Processing Managers should review the evaluation procedure.
After some discussion the following criteria were selected to rate the various categories of languages:
1. development and maintenance of programs for production or special request
2. training of personnel
3. efficient use of core and time (resources)
4. ease of conversion to Cobol or Fortran
5. language self-documenting and lend itself to structured programming
6. transferability of personnel
7. transferability of systems
8. vendor support of languages
The following categories of languages were suggested.
3. Report Writing
4. Simulation and Research
5. File Management
7. Education (CAI, etc.)
The group decided to define each of the above categories and to identify which languages would be included in each category.
The next meeting will be held:
Friday, January 9, 1976, 10:30 a.m.
Evergreen Plaza Building
Second Floor Conference Room
MEETING MINUTES, DECEMBER 4, 1975
The meeting was called to order by Chairman, Bob Vaughn. There were 38 members and guests present. The following guests were introduced. Caryl Reilly, Personnel Officer with Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission; Bill Price, Liquor Control Board; Paul Pemberton, Employment Security Department; and Ed Jewell, Dept. of Fisheries.
Tom Jones, Secretary/Treasurer reported a current balance of $363.71 with no expenditures for the month. Two more members sent in dues this month for a total of 31 of 36 paid to date.
There were no corrections or additions to the minutes of the previous meeting, therefore, they were approved as printed in the Newsletter.
Copies of the Job Matrix Report were sent out by the Department of Personnel to the agencies for review by agency Personnel Officers. Dept. of Personnel will start meeting with the agencies in January.
Although unable to attend this meeting, Paul Newman is now out of the hospital and back to work on a half-day basis. Don Brown has been taking care of the work on the Personnel Liaison Committee. He reported that Dept. of Personnel revised a couple of questions on the Programmer II test, and that they had also suggested that higher level programmers be required to take the exam. They are going to try to get opinions from other agencies regarding the suggestion.
Bobbie Giovannini reported the Data Processing Authority meeting was held on Tuesday, December 2, 1975. Preliminary approval was given to the Policy Statement. Policy and Standards will be reviewed by the Authority members, then it will be sent out to the Data Processing Managers probably in January for their review. She also reported that Community Colleges made a presentation of their status and according to their plan, they currently have a common financial and student system in development for implementation January and July respectively. Twenty-five to twenty-seven colleges will be on the program which shows outstanding progress with the plan.
In the area of new business, the Executive Committee is putting together an opinion poll to be sent to all members to express their opinions on how the organization should be structured and how the program should be conducted, etc. It will cover areas such as programs, involvement with the DPA, voting members, etc. Anyone having areas that they would like to have included in the questionnaire, get in touch with Bob Vaughn.
There being no further new business Program Chairman, Don Smith was called on to introduce the guest speaker for the month, the Executive Director for the Washington State Federation of Employees, Mr. George Masten.
Mr. Masten opened his talk by giving a brief history and definition of what the Federation is. It is the sixth largest AFL-CIO union in the nation.
Mr. Masten feels that during the coming legislative session retirement reform will be a main concern. The Federation has told the legislature that there are amendments they will support. For example, tightening up on the ability of legislators to go to work for a state agency for two years and then get credit for a 3% times everything for higher wages.
They will continue to pursue combining the civil service laws of Higher Education personnel and the State Personnel Board and come up with a single state board.
They will also work to maintain the Holidays that the state workers now have. During the last session a senator sponsored legislation to do away with Election Day. There has been some indication that one of the Senators will be sponsoring similar legislation during this session.
Salaries, of course, are still an issue. Since revenue is coming in exactly the way the Governor predicted, it appears there will be a zero balance. What this means is that the legislature will have to face up to an issue of taxes. Mr. Masten feels that we would be kidding ourselves if we thought there would be a vote for tax reform or graduated net income tax or anything of that sort. It's been very clear that the voters will not vote for tax reform of any kind. It's Mr. Masten's opinion that the issue will be squarely before the legislature to pass taxes that they constitutionally can pass - sales tax, B & 0 tax, all the regressive taxes. It is Mr. Masten's feeling that the union and state workers should support these tax moves, because the voters will not vote tax reform until taxes become so high they can no longer stand them.
Salary Survey -- The legislature hired Arthur Young and Associates to do a survey of only private industry, including the smallest of employers in the state, and to include fringe benefits. The survey is to be run in conjunction with the Personnel Boards. In addition to the basic survey, the consultants will also be doing an out-of-state survey. There will also be a random sampling of employers with 1 to 49 employees.
Where does the Federation stand on the salary surveys? They have supported this kind of survey taking place on a timely basis for the simple reason that we have got to put this before the legislators because they are the key to getting money for salaries. As long as they honestly feel that the survey is not being done right, there will be problems getting monies for salary increases. If the survey is done properly, Mr. Masten feels that it will support what the Personnel Boards have been finding out all along. He also feels that if they run a good survey of fringes, it will prove that state employees are not overfringed. All in all he feels that the survey is heading in a positive direction. Mr. Masten concluded by calling for questions from the floor.
UNIVAC ARRIVES AT SC-3
The new UNIVAC 1100/40 system for Service Center 3 was placed in the computer room Monday, December 22. The equipment and conversion contracts were signed two weeks earlier. The State won't have an opportunity to use the system for about a month when the formal 30 day acceptance period begins. After that, most efforts will be aimed at converting the Department of Social and Health Services' and the Department of Motor Vehicles' present applications. Conversion is expected to be completed in 1976 for DSHS and in mid- 1977 for DMV.
Equipment installation is scheduled in five phases throughout this biennium. It will finally include: an 1100/42 multiprocessor, 263K words primary memory, 526K words extended memory, 1.3 billion words of disc storage, four spindles fixed head disc, two 9300 processors controlling paper peripherials, two Communications Symbiont Processors with 131K memory each, 20 tape drives, five printers, two readers and a punch. Besides the departments' communications networks, CRT terminals will be used for program development and modification and RJE will supported.
Service Center 3, located in the southeast end of Office Building 2 on the service level is under the management of Will Wolf from DMV. Production Services will be managed by Larry Seaberg from DSHS and Technical Services by John Lawson from DMV. During the coming biennium the staff of the center is planned to increase, in phases, to just over 60 persons.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
WASHINGTON STATE ASSOCIATION OF DATA PROCESSING MANAGERS
Bob Vaughn, Chairman 753-5461
Tom Jones, Sec./Treas. 753-5161
Don Smith, Program 753-2475
Bob Payne, Exec. Comm. 753-3426
Jim Anderson, Exec. Comm. 753-2957
Pat Mailey, Editor 753-2872
Dick Nelson, Ass't. Ed. 753-6455
Dick Applestone, Job Matrix 753-7540
Paul Newman, Personnel 753-2208
Jim Anderson, ADP Planning 753-2957
D.P.A. Meeting, January 7, 1976, 2:00 p.m.
House Office Building, Room 431, Olympia