The City Council voted to approve new software for the city's overburdened main computer in an stopgap effort to speed processing time for programming of payroll, labor negotiations, equipment maintenance and rentals.
Gerry Boutwell, information systems director, said that the demands on the city's VAX-11780 and VAX-11750 computers had reached the point where they were in use almost 100% of the time./
Boutwell said city employees were experiencing "a high level of frustration" at having to wait to use the machine.
Assistant City Manager Albert Ng said recent major demands on the computers included complex calculations to figure out the impact of wage-and-benefit proposals during the city's labor negotiations. In addition, he said, a computer-mail program also increased the burden on the computer.
The new software, which will cost $22,500, is faster than the programs the city currently uses, which are several years old, because it is written in machine language--computer code that matches the actual operations of the computer's central processing unit. The existing software, written in a computer language that more closely resembles English, must be re-interpreted by the computer each time it is used.