Information theory and computer science were strongly spurred on by the practical challenges posed by World War II. The British and American governments gave heavy funding to disciplines which promised to lead to practical methods in communication and coding.
In England Colin Cherry and Donald Broadbent proposed that we view human beings as information processing devices, and describe them in the same terms as those used to describe simpler information processing devices: a set of input and output channels with known, limited capacities (Broadbent, 1958) (See sec. . This metaphor led to a new and fruitful research program exploring the constraints and functioning of human sensory channels. Here too initially the descriptions were limited to input and output, later channel capacity and noise were introduced and finally the focus shifted to coding and recoding of inputs - thus Miller's paper on 7 presented at the 1956 MIT symposium (See secs. and ).