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--The economic changes new technology has set in motion are more interesting and important than the technology per se --The technology makes possible new forms of employment new approaches to compensation and new ways of launching enterprises--what is often referred to as a Silicon Valley System --Note that this Silicon Valley System spreads across the country and the world with nodes in Boston Austin Helsinki Singapore and elsewhere --Leading-edge users and their innovative applications have created the demand and the markets that have sustained technological development Leading- user industries discovered just what advancing information-processing technology was good for --In the beginning computers were seen as powerful calculators performing complicated or tedious and lengthy sets of arithmetic operations --But by the 1970s it was clear that the computer was at least as useful in stuffing information into and pulling information out of large data bases as in being a large calculator --In the 1980s computers became ubiquitous in the office because they had another powerful function separate from computation and sorting --The office applications used the microprocessor and memory not as a calculator or a sorter but a trial-and-error device a possibility generator a way of rapidly manipulating a virtual document to see what the final physical document might be --In the 1990s the computer has evolved two new major functions --It has burrowed inside conventional products as embedded systems have begun adding intelligence to manufactured goods --It has connected outside to create the world wide web of network- accessible information --Back in the 1950s the discoverers of the tools of modern quantitative finance dismissed them as theoretically interesting but of no practical use--the calculations required to figure out what an optimally diversified portfolio would be were totally impractical --They did not foresee the implications of the computer revolution --Today rocket science applied to financial management has created a new range of financial products --It is transforming the management and organization of financial institutions --It is
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