Originally computers were sold as hard-wired boxes users could program to perform their tasks. The value of prewritten and reusable software quickly became clear, and hardware manufacturers began bundling programs with their systems. Eventually software development became a field of its own, as much a part of computer science as the design and manufacture of the machines. Mathematical software came first. Databases were an early contender in the mainframe software market, arising as processing speed and storage capacity increased. Word-processing became feasible in the 1970s, though it only spread with the PC. Games wereinevitable. Today's computer virus, a tiny pieces of code that spreads from disk to disk and system to system, is the descendant of games in a system at MIT devoted to such processes. Software now makes easier money than hardware, though both require massive amounts of development capital. They play back and forth - as the hardware becomes faster, software developers can add new features and interfaces - as software becomes power-hungry, hardware manufacturers can find a market for ever more powerful computers.

This file created with Hypertype 2.2 by Simon St.Laurent