Although the computer industry has begun incorporating new features in their newest computers and workstations, it has not been clear how best to utilize these new media to improve the productivity of the user. One problem stems from relative separation of various disciplines. For example, three distinct disciplines have evolved from visual information processing: image processing, computer graphics, and pattern recognition. All of them manipulate image data in some ways. The main difference between them is the domain where each discipline takes the input and produces the output. Recognizing the importance of merging the three distinct disciplines into one so that the image data can be successfully incorporated into the future computer technology, a new discipline, denoted as image computing, has been established to provide for consistency and efficiency in managing image data. In conjunction with other technologies such as video and computer-generated audio, image computing will play a key role in developing an integrated information processing platform that will be used in many areas in the 1990s. Some of the areas where image computing technology can be applied are presented. Requirements specific to each application are also described. Functions required of a typical computing workstation will be listed and each requirement will be investigated in detail. We describe how the continuing advances in technology will benefit image computing, and predict how the software algorithms of the future will be employed in image computing. We also introduce some possible future products that incorporate image computing technology.