History of the computer. The computer is a programmable electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data. It was designed in the 19th century.
History of Computers:
History Of Computer. The computer as we know it today had its beginning with a 19th-century English mathematics professor name Charles Babbage. … Other developments continued until in 1946 the first general– purpose digital computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was built.
This chapter is a brief summary of the history of Computers. It is supplemented by the two PBS documentaries video tapes “Inventing the Future” And “The Paperback Computer”. The chapter highlights some of the advances to look for in the documentaries.
In particular, when viewing the movies you should look for two things:
The progression in hardware representation of a bit of data:
Vacuum Tubes (1950s) – one bit on the size of a thumb;
Transistors (1950s and 1960s) – one bit on the size of a fingernail;
Integrated Circuits (1960s and 70s) – thousands of bits on the size of a hand
Silicon computer chips (1970s and on) – millions of bits on the size of a finger nail.
The progression of the ease of use of computers:
Almost impossible to use except by very patient geniuses (1950s);
Programmable by highly trained people only (1960s and 1970s);
Useable by just about anyone (1980s and on).
A computer is a machine that can be instructed to carry out sequences of arithmetic or logical operations automatically via computer programming. Modern computers have the ability to follow generalized sets of operations, called programs. These programs enable computers to perform an extremely wide range of tasks. A “complete” computer including the hardware, the operating system (main software), and peripheral equipment required and used for “full” operation can be referred to as a computer system. This term may as well be used for a group of computers that are connected and work together, in particular a computer network or computer cluster.
Computers are used as control systems for a wide variety of industrial and consumer devices. This includes simple special purpose devices like microwave ovens and remote controls, factory devices such as industrial robots and computer-aided design, and also general purpose devices like personal computers and mobile devices such as smartphones. The Internet is run on computers and it connects hundreds of millions of other computers and their users.
science and technology:
science and technology progress in a very logical way, with each new discovery leading on from the last. You can see that in our mini chronology of invention, below. It’s not meant to be a complete history of everything; it’s simply another way to explore the 450 or so detailed articles on our website.
A Brief History of the Computer:
Computers and computer applications are on almost every aspect of our daily lives. As like many ordinary objects around us, we may need clearer understanding of what they are. You may ask “What is a computer?” or “What is a software”, or “What is a programming language?” First, let’s examine the history.
The history of computers starts out about 2000 years ago in Babylonia (Mesopotamia), at the birth of the abacus, a wooden rack holding two horizontal wires with beads strung on them.
Blaise Pascal is usually credited for building the first digital computer in 1642. It added numbers entered with dials and was made to help his father, a tax collector.
The basic principle of his calculator is still used today in water meters and modern-day odometers. Instead of having a carriage wheel turn the gear, he made each ten-teeth wheel accessible to be turned directly by a person’s hand (later inventors added keys and a crank), with the result that when the wheels were turned in the proper sequences, a series of numbers was entered and a cumulative sum was obtained. The gear train supplied a mechanical answer equal to the answer that is obtained by using arithmetic.
This first mechanical calculator, called the Pascaline, had several disadvantages. Although it did offer a substantial improvement over manual calculations, only Pascal himself could repair the device and it cost more than the people it replaced! In addition, the first signs of technophobia emerged with mathematicians fearing the loss of their jobs due to progress.
A step towards automated computing was the development of punched cards, which were first successfully used with computers in 1890 by Herman Hollerith and James Powers, who worked for the US. Census Bureau. They developed devices that could read the information that had been punched into the cards automatically, without human help. Because of this, reading errors were reduced dramatically, workflow increased, and, most importantly, stacks of punched cards could be used as easily accessible memory of almost unlimited size. Furthermore, different problems could be stored on different stacks of cards and accessed when needed.
These advantages were seen by commercial companies and soon led to the development of improved punch-card using computers created by International Business Machines (IBM), Remington (yes, the same people that make shavers), Burroughs, and other corporations. These computers used electromechanical devices in which electrical power provided mechanical motion — like turning the wheels of an adding machine. Such systems included features to:
feed in a specified number of cards automatically
add, multiply, and sort
feed out cards with punched results
The start of World War II produced a large need for computer capacity, especially for the military. New weapons were made for which trajectory tables and other essential data were needed. In 1942, John P. Eckert, John W. Mauchly, and their associates at the Moore School of Electrical Engineering of University of Pennsylvania decided to build a high – speed electronic computer to do the job. This machine became known as ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator).