The personal computer continues to evolve, further relieving scientists from tedious and mundane tasks. The extra time made available by computer assistance allows increased productivity and may pay off with faster and more profound discoveries. Linking individual computers through a network or the World Wide Web allows access to remote databases and instantaneous reporting of results, increasing efficiency.

Computers have come a long way from the first handheld calculators that could perform only the basic functions: multiply, divide, add, subtract, and, for the big bucks, do squares and square roots. "Old-school" scientists looked down their noses at the gadgets, fearing their students' and colleagues' brains would rot from underuse, leading to the eventual collapse of society. This sentiment was evident as far back as 1947, when, at the birth of the ENIAC computer, IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson stated, "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."...

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