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1 текст

COMPUTERS IN HUMAN LIFE

Computer is perhaps the best invention and one of the most significant achievements of human thought.

A computer does not necessarily mean a monitor, keyboard, mouse and a CPU. A computer is any machine or device that can compute and execute instructions given to it in the form of programs. So technically, even a cell phone is a computer. And so are desktops, laptops, tablet PCs and PDAs. Anything that can perform a series of operations on its own is a computer. This gives us the idea how great the role of computers is.

One of the most important advantages of computers is in the field of science for research and development. The satellites, the telescopes and almost all the research tools make use of computers.

Next important use of computers is in the medical field. Many high tech surgical machines and instruments are endowed with small computer systems so that any surgical process is recorded and monitored to avoid complications. Many clinical imaging processes are conducted with the help of computers, such as X-ray and CT scan, etc.

Computers are a must in the field of education. The Internet is a huge source of information. We surf the internet and simply need to google to find any information. Different universities deliver online degrees, and distance learning is spreading dramatically. Notebooks are used to write research paper and Word Processing software automatically corrects spelling and grammar mistakes.

Software is widely used in communication sphere. People can send messages by e-mail to a person who is thousands of miles away. Chat software enables one to chat with another person on a real-time basis. Video conferencing tools are becoming available.

Next, all financial transactions are done by computer software. They provide security, speed and convenience.

The field of entertainment has been revolutionized by computers. Animation, graphic image manipulation, movie making, music composition, three-dimensional model creating have made the entertainment experience hundred times better. Computer gaming is achieving new landmarks in terms of technology.

This is only the tip of the iceberg. Software engineers, writers, businessmen, employees in the field of telecommunication, banking, research, medicine use computers daily.

Finally, just imagine one day without using your PC or any computer based application. You will surely understand the importance of this «thinking machine» in your life.

1. Can computer be considered as one of the most significant achievements of the XX century? Why?

2. What is computer?

3. What spheres of life are computers used in?

2 ткест

THE FUTURE OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

We are in the midst of convergence. At the hardware layer, computers, phones and consumer electronics are converging. At the applications layer, we see convergence of information, entertainment, communications, shopping, commerce, and education.

Computers have come from nowhere 50 years ago and are rapidly catching up in capability with the human brain. We can expect huinam: machine equivalence by about 2015. Rut after this, computers will continue to get smarter, there is a noticeable positive feedback loop in technology development, with each generation of improved computers giving us more assistance in the design and development of the next. Ultimately, they will design their offspring with little or no human involvement.

This technology development will push the knowledge forwards. It will be almost as though extraterrestrials had landed in 2020 and given us all their advanced technology 
overnight.

But we will never get far unless we can solve the interface problem. In the near future we may have electronic pets, with video camera eyes and microphone ears, linked by radio to the family computer. With voice and language recognition we will have easy access to all that the Internet can provide. We can tell the pet what we want and it will sort it out for us. It will be impossible to be technophobic about such an interface, and the only IT skill needed will be to speak any major language.

Telecoms applications will soon be bundled together in much the same way as office application suites are today. A major example is the electronic marketplace, which will bring customers and suppliers together in smart databases and virtual environments, with ID verification, encryption and translation. It will then implement the billing, taxation and electronic funds transfer, while automatically producing accounts and auditing.

The whole suite of services will be based on voice processing, allowing a natural voice interlace to talk to the computer, all the AL
to carry out the request, and voice synthesis and visualization technology to get the ans-
wer out.

Electronic money will be very secure but much more versatile than physical alternatives. E-cash can be completely global and could be used as a de facto standard. It does not have to be linked to any national currency, so can be independent of local currency fluctuations. Its growing use on the Net will lead to its acceptance on the street and we may hold a large proportion of our total funds in this global electronic cash. People will increasingly buy direct from customized manufacturers. Shops will be places where people try on clothes, not buy them.

Their exact measurements can be sent instantly to the manufacturer as soon as they have chosen an outfit. The shops may be paid by the manufacturer instead.

1. Who invented the first computer?

2. When did it happen?

3. Can we say that we are in the middle of the history of computer development?

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CAREERS IN INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY

Information technology is a very wide field, and if a person is thinking of choosing a career in IT, he/she has to be very specific about what he/she actually wants to do. Several positions are available and they differ according to the responsibilities and duties of the IT professional. Moreover, these professionals are highly paid in comparison to other jobs. Certifications and trainings are even more important than basic educational qualifications such as bachelor’s and master’s degree. Furthermore, previous IT experiences also counts.

Systems Analyst studies the methods of working within an organisation to decide how tasks can be done efficiently by computers; makes a detailed analysis of the employer’s requirements and work patterns to prepare a report on different options for using information technology. Systems Analyst either uses standard computer packages or writes a specification for programmers to adapt existing software or to prepare new one; may oversee the implementation and testing of a system and acts as a link between the user and the programmer.

Software Engineer or Designer produces the programs to control the internal operations of computers; converts the System Analyst’s specification to a logical series of steps and translates it into the appropriate computer language. Software Engineer designs, tests and improves programs for computer-aided design and manufacture, business applications, computer networks and games.

Computer Services Engineering Technician is responsible for installation, maintenance or repair of computers and associated equipment. He/she installs hardware, tests by running special software, carries out routine servicing of large mainframe systems, aiming to avoid breakdowns and upgrades machines usually on customer’s premises.

Network Support Person or Computer Engineer maintains the link between PCs and workstations, uses telecommunications, software and electronic skills and knowledge of the networking software to locate and correct faults.

Computer Salesperson sells equipment to suit individual requirements, organizes the sale, delivery and, if necessary, installation and testing. He/she may arrange support, training, maintenance and consultation, must have sufficient technical knowledge.

Applications Programmer writes the programs to enable a computer to carry out particular tasks. He/she may write new programs or adapt existing ones to meet the needs of the company. When writing a new program, he/she follows a specification provided by a Systems Analyst. Applications Programmer checks programs for faults and does extensive 
testing.

Systems Support Person is an Analyst Programmer who is responsible for maintaining, updating and modifying the software used by a company. He/she uses machine codes and low-level computer languages; may sort out some problems encountered by users.

Hardware Engineer researches, designs and develops computers and computerized element of appliances, machines and vehicles. He/she is also involved in manufacturing, installation and testing. Hardware Engineer has to be aware of cost, efficiency, safety and environmental factors as well as engineering aspects.

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INFORMATION SECURITY

The Internet provides a wide variety of opportunities for communication and development, but unfortunately it also has its dark side.

Crackers, or black-hat hackers, are computer criminals who use technology to perform a variety of crimes: virus propagation, fraud, intellectual property theft, etc.

Internet-based crimes include scam, email fraud to obtain money or valuables, and phishing, bank fraud, to get banking information such as passwords of Internet bank accounts or credit card details. Both crimes use emails or websites that look like those of real organizations.

Due to its anonymity, the Internet also provides the right environment for cyberstalking, online harassment or abuse, mainly in chat rooms or newsgroups.

Piracy, the illegal copying and distribution of copyrighted software, information, music and video files, is widespread.

But by far the most common type of crime involves malware. Malware (malicious software) is software created to damage or alter the computer data or its operations. These are the main types.

Viruses are programs that spread by attaching themselves to executable files or documents. When the infected program is run, the virus propagates to other files or programs on the computer. Some viruses are designed to work at a particular time or on a specific date, e.g. on Friday 13. An email virus spreads by sending a copy of itself to everyone in an email address book.

Worms are self-copying programs that have the capacity to move from one computer to another without human help, by exploiting security flaws in computer networks. Worms are self-contained and don’t need to be attached to a document or program the way viruses do.

Trojan horses are malicious programs disguised as innocent-looking files or embedded within legitimate software. Once they are activated, they may affect the computer in a variety of ways: some are just annoying, others are more ominous, creating a backdoor to the computer which can be used to collect stored data. They don’t copy themselves or reproduce by infecting other files.

Spyware, software designed to collect information from computers for commercial or criminal purposes, is another example of malicious software. It usually comes hidden in fake freeware or shareware applications downloadable from the Internet.

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THE ANATOMY OF A VIRUS

A biological virus is a very small, simple organism that infects living cells, known as the host, by attaching itself to them and using them to reproduce itself. This often causes harm to the host cells.

Similarly, a computer virus is a very small program routine that infects a computer system and uses its resources to reproduce itself. It often does this by patching the operating system to enable it to detect program files, such as COM or FXH, files. It then copies itself into those files. This sometimes causes harm to the host computer system.

When the user runs an infected program, it is loaded into memory carrying the virus. The virus uses a common programming technique to stay resident in memory. It can then use a reproduction routine to infect other programs. This process continues until the computer is switched off.

The virus may also contain a payload that remains dormant until a trigger event activates it, such as the user pressing a particular key. The payload can have a variety of forms. It might do something relatively harmless such as displaying a message on the monitor screen or it might do something more destructive such as deleting files on the hard disk.

When it infects a file, the virus replaces the first instruction in the host program with a command that changes the normal execution sequence. This type of command is known as a JUMP command and causes the virus instructions to he executed before the host program. The virus then returns control to the host program which then continues with its normal sequence of instructions and is executed in the normal way.

To be a virus, a program only needs to have a reproduction routine that enables it to infect other programs. Viruses can, however, have four main parts. A misdirection routine that enables it to hide itself; a reproduction routine that allows it to copy itself to other programs; a trigger that causes the payload to be activated at a particular time or when a particular event takes place; and a payload that may be a fairly harmless joke or may be very destructive. A program that has a payload but does not have a reproduction routine is known as a Trojan.

1. How are computer viruses like biological viruses?

2. What is the effect of a virus patching the operating system?

3. Why are some viruses designed to be loaded into memory?

4. What examples of payload does the writer provide?

5. What kind of programs do viruses often attach to?

6. How does a Trojan differ from a virus?

Текст 6

INTERNET AND MODERN LIFE

The Internet has already entered our ordinary life. Everybody knows that the Internet is a global computer network, which embraces hundred of millions of users all over the world and helps us to communicate with each other.

The history of Internet began in the United States in 1969. It was a military experiment, designed to help to survive during a nuclear war, when everything around might be polluted by radiation and it would be dangerous to get out for any living being to get some information to anywhere. Information sent over the Internet takes the shortest and safest path available from one computer to another. Because of this, any two computers on the net will be able to stay in touch with each other as long as there is a single route between them. This technology was called packet switching.

Invention of modems, special devices allowing your computer to send the information through the telephone line, has opened doors to the Internet for millions of people.

Most of the Internet host computers are in the United States of America. It is clear that the accurate number of users can be counted fairly approximately, nobody knows exactly how many people use the Internet today.

Nowadays the most popular Internet service is e-mail. Most of the people use the network only for sending and receiving e-mail messages. They can do it either they are at home or in the internet clubs or at work. Other popular services are available on the Internet too. It is reading news, available on some dedicated news servers, telnet, FTP servers, etc.

In many countries, the Internet could provide businessmen with reliable telecommunication systems. Commercial users can communicate cheaply over the Internet with the rest of the world. When they send e-mail messages, they only have to pay for phone calls to their local service providers, not for international calls around the world, when you pay a good deal of money.

But saving money is only the first step and not the last one. There is a commercial use of this network and it is drastically increasing. Now you can work through the internet, gambling and playing through the net.

However, there are some problems. The most important problem is security. When you send an e-mail, your message can travel through many different networks and computers. The data is constantly being directed towards its destination by special computers called routers. Because of this, it is possible to get into any of the computers along the route, intercept and even change the data being sent over the Internet. But there are many encoding programs available.

Another big and serious problem of the net is control. Yes, there is no effective control in the Internet, because a huge amount of information circulating through the net.

In the future, the situation might change, but now we have what we have. It could be expressed in two words– an anarchist’s dream.

CHOOSING INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER

Using an Internet Service provider, ISP, requires no new technology – all you need is a computer, a modem, a telephone line (preferably broadband), and the appropriate software (which is available free of charge when you sign up with the service).

Most of the services are very similar, but it is still worth looking around for a service that offers at least the following features:

High speed

Connection can be provided by standard dial-up using an ordinary modem or by using a broadband connection. Standard dial-up is the slowest at 56 Kbps. Broadband such as ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line) provides different speeds for uploading (sending data) and downloading (receiving data) ranging from 256 Kbps to 2 Mbps.

High Usage Allowance

The amount of data that you are allowed to upload or download in a given time period may be limited. Sending email, browsing the Web or downloading images does not require high usage allowances, downloading MP3 music files requires more. Online gaming and viewing video online will require a high usage allowance. Usage allowance is normally quoted as GB per month.

Good Value Packages

Various packages are available offering different options that can be paid monthly, annually, bi-annually etc. With these packages, after paying the initial fee, Internet access is usually unmetered. You can also opt for pay-as-you-go packages. Look for a package where the initial rate is reduced. You have to compare ISP offers carefully to find a package that provides what you want at the cheapest cost.

CD-ROM or Online sign up

Some ISPs require you to sign up for their service online (which obviously means you already need to have an Internet connection and some experience with setting up a dial-up networking connection). If you are a complete beginner, you’ll need an ISP which can provide its sign-up software on CD-ROM that will automatically conure your computer to access the Internet.

Local rate calls

Nearly all ISPs provide local call access numbers. Any ISP that uses a national rate number or charges an initial set up or administration fee should be avoided.

Email

Having several email accounts is very useful – you can separate business and personal email for example, or provide an address for each member of your family. Many ISPs also offer only Web-based mail which is great if you need to get into your computer on the move as you can access it from any computer with Internet access. POP3 email, however, is faster and more efficient and can be downloaded to your PC to read offline – a combination of the two
is ideal.

Junk mail filtering and virus checking Spam (unsolicited email) is very common. It fills up your storage space and is time consuming to deal with. It is also one of the main sources of viruses that attack your computer. Look for an ISP that provides good filtering services to remove junk mail and viruses before they reach your computer.

Free Web space

A decent amount of free Web space would be around 25-50 Mb. This would be sufficient for most of your own personal website developments. Also check to see if there are any restrictions on your use of web space, since some ISPs will not let you use the space for commercial purposes.

Customer Support

The accessibility and quality of customer support provided by ISPs varies greatly and some ISPs make an additional charge for 
support.

Reliable Service

Of course all the features in the world won’t make a scrap of difference if the ISP is unreliable and you find it impossible to log on. Look out for recommendations from friends and shop around.

1. What is the Internet?

2. What are the most popular Internet services today?

3. What are the most essential problems of the Internet?

1. What is «batch processing»?

2. What is «time-sharing» concept?

3. Why was DARPA founded?

4. What does DARPA stand for?

5. What are the three fundamental concepts for the history of the Internet?

6. What is the specific feature of the TCP?

7. What does the term «packet switching» mean?

8. What is the key idea of CYCLADES concept?

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ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

The subfield of computer science is concerned with understanding the nature of intelligence and constructing computer systems capable of intelligent action. It embodies the dual motives of furthering basic scientific understanding and making computers more sophisticated in the service of humanity.

Many activities involve intelligent action – problem solving, perception, learning, planning and other symbolic reasoning, creativity, language, and so forth – and therein lie an immense diversity of phenomena. Scientific concern for these phenomena is shared by many fields, for example, psychology, linguistics, and philosophy of mind, in addition to artificial intelligence.

The starting point for artificial intelligence is the capability of the computer to manipulate symbolic expressions that can represent all manner of things, including knowledge about the structure and function of objects and people in the world, beliefs and purposes, scientific theories, and the programs of action of the computer itself.

Artificial intelligence is primarily concerned with symbolic representations of knowledge and heuristic methods of reasoning, that is, using common assumptions and rules of thumb. Two examples of problems studied in artificial intelligence are planning how a robot, or person, might assemble a complicated device, or move from one place to another; and diagnosing the nature of a person’s disease, or of a machine’s malfunction, from the observable manifestations of the problem. In both cases, reasoning with symbolic descriptions predominates over 
calculating.

The foundations of artificial intelligence are divided into representation, problem-solving methods, architecture, and knowledge. To work on a task, a computer must have an internal representation in its memory, for example, the symbolic description of a room for a moving robot, or a set of features describing a person with a disease. The representation also includes all the knowledge, including basic programs, for testing and measuring the structure, plus all the programs for transforming the structure into another one in ways appropriate to the task. Changing the representation used for a task can make an immense difference, turning a problem from impossible to trivial.

Given the representation of a task, a method must be adopted that has some chance of accomplishing the task. Artificial intelligence has gradually built up a stock of relevant problem-solving methods (the so-called weak methods) that apply extremely generally.

An important feature of all the weak methods is that they involve search. One of the most important generalizations to arise in artificial intelligence is the ubiquity of search. It appears to underlie all intelligent action. In the worst case, the search is blind. In heuristic search extra information is used to guide the search.

Some of the weak methods are generate-and-test (a sequence of candidates is generated, each being tested for solution hood); hill climbing (a measure of progress is used to guide each step); means-ends analysis (the difference between the desired situation and the present one is used to select the next step); impasse resolution (the inability to take the desired next step leads to a subgoal of making the step feasible); planning by abstraction (the task is simplified, solved, and the solution used as a guide); and matching (the present situation is represented as a schema to be mapped into the desired situation by putting the two in correspondence).

In artificial intelligence, the basic paradigm of intelligent action is that of search through a space of partial solutions (called the problem space) for a goal situation. Each step offers several possibilities, leading to a cascading of possibilities that can be represented as a branching tree. The search is thus said to be combinatorial or exponential. For example, if there are 10 possible actions in any situation, and it takes a sequence of 12 steps to find a solution (a goal state), then there are 1012 possible sequences in the exhaustive search tree. What keeps the search under control is knowledge, which suggests how to choose or narrow the options at each step. Thus the fourth fundamental concern is how to represent knowledge in the memory of the system so it can be brought to bear on the search when relevant.

An intelligent agent will have immense amounts of knowledge. This implies another major problem that of discovering the relevant knowledge as the solution attempt progresses. Although this search does not include the combinatorial explosion characteristic of searching the problem space, it can be time consuming and hard. However, the structure of the database holding the knowledge (called the knowledge base) can be carefully tailored to suit the architecture in order to make the search efficient. This knowledge base, with its accompanying problems of encoding and access, constitutes the final ingredient of an intelligent system.

An example of artificial intelligence is computer perception. Perception is the formation, from a sensory signal, of an internal representation suitable for intelligent processing. Though there are many types of sensory signals, computer perception has focused on vision and speech. Perception might seem to be distinct from intelligence, since it involves incident time-varying continuous energy distributions prior to interpretation in symbolic terms. However, all the same ingredients occur: representation, search, architecture, and knowledge.

A class of artificial intelligence programs called expert systems attempt to accomplish tasks by acquiring and incorporating the same knowledge that human experts have. Many attempts to apply artificial intelligence to medicine, government, and other socially significant tasks take the form of expert systems. Even though the emphasis is on knowledge, all the standard ingredients are present.

As computers become smaller and less expensive, more and more intelligence is built into automobiles, appliances, and other machines, as well as computer software, in everyday use.

1. What activities involve intelligent action?

2. What is artificial intelligence primarily concerned with?

3. What are the foundations of artificial intelligence?

4. Give some examples of artificial intelligence.

5. What are expert systems?

Текст 8

Scientific and Technological Progress

It's difficult to overestimate the role of science and technology in our life. They accelerate the development of civilization and help us in our co-operation with nature. Scientists investigate the laws of the universe, discover the secrets of nature, and apply their knowledge in practice improving the life of people.

Let's compare our life nowadays with the life of people at the 'beginning of the 20th century. It has changed beyond recognition. Our ancestors hadn't the slightest idea of the trivial things created by the scientific progress that we use in our every day life. I mean refrigerators, TV sets, computers, microwave ovens, radio telephones, what not. They would seem miracle to them that made our life easy, comfortable and pleasant. On the other hand, the great inventions of the beginning of the 20th century, I mean radio, aeroplanes, combustion and jet engines have become usual things and we can't imagine our life without them.

A century is a long period for scientific and technological progress, as it's rather rapid. Millions of investigations, the endless number of outstanding discoveries have been made. Our century has had several names that were connected with a certain era in science and technology. At first it was called the atomic age due to the discovery of the splitting of the atom. Then it became the age of the conquest of space when for the first time in the history of mankind a man overcame the gravity and entered the Universe. And now we live in the information era when the computer network embraces the globe and connects not only the countries and space stations but a lot of people all over the world. All these things prove the power and the greatest progressive role of science in our life.

But every medal has its reverse. And the rapid scientific progress has aroused a number of problems that are a matter of our great concern. These are ecological problems, the safety of nuclear power stations, the nuclear war threat, and the responsibility of a scientist.

But still we are grateful to the outstanding men of the past and the present who have courage and patience to disclose the secrets of the Universe.

1. What accelerates the development of civilization and helps us in our cooperation with nature?

2. How did our life change from the beginning of the 20th century?

3. What names has our century?

4. What outstanding discoveries in our century do you know?

5. What problems has the rapid scientific progress?

Текст 9




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