Over the last few years computer hardware has continued to become
smaller, cheaper, faster and more numerous. Computer software too has
continued to become more efficient and powerful. The result has therefore
been an availability of increasingly versatile microcomputers whose power
rival that of minicomputers and many of the earlier generations of mainframe
computers. At the same time, computers and communications have merged,
with the result that computing power has become cheaper than communication.
As the computation becomes cheaper and the machines become faster, the
desire to solve larger and more complex problems will continue to increase. [Continues.]
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy at Loughborough University.