GCN at 25 | The rise and fall of ADP

Automatic data processing was the hot topic back in the early '80s

Government and computing have always had one thing in common: acronyms. In fact, these two fields of endeavor might just lead the world in the propagation of acronyms. But even acronyms are not forever.

Remember ADP? In the early days of GCN, you couldn't swing a broken parallel-port connector without hitting somebody talking about ADP. Neither can you pick up an '80s-vintage copy of GCN without seeing ADP in at least one headline, usually more.

Automatic data processing was the hot topic back then, as agencies sought to bring computers and electronic processes into their offices. The government's IT budget was referred to as its ADP budget. OA'office automation'was another, though less commonly used, acronym.

Today, we pretty much refer to both of these things, if at all, as 'computing.' They've become such an everyday fact of life that people take them for granted, and the acronyms have been sent on to the archives. Maybe some day soon we can say the same about


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