History of Computers

In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By caflings
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History of Computers
1. History of Computers
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: 1. Vacuum Tubes (1950s) - one bit on the size of a thumb; 2. Transistors (1950s and 1960s) - one bit on the size of a fingernail; 3. Integrated Circuits (1960s and 70s) - thousands of bits on the size of a hand 4. 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: 5. Almost impossible to use except by very patient geniuses (1950s); 6. Programmable by highly trained people only (1960s and 1970s); 7. Useable by just about anyone (1980s and on). to see how computers got smaller, cheaper, and easier to use.
First Computers

| Eniac Computer |

The first substantial computer was the giant ENIAC machine by John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania. ENIAC (Electrical Numerical Integrator and Calculator) used a word of 10 decimal digits instead of binary ones like previous automated calculators/computers. ENIAC was also the first machine to use more than 2,000 vacuum tubes, using nearly 18,000 vacuum tubes. Storage of all those vacuum tubes and the machinery required to keep the cool took up over 167 square meters (1800 square feet) of floor space. Nonetheless, it had punched-card input and output and arithmetically had 1 multiplier, 1 divider-square rooter, and 20 adders employing decimal "ring counters," which served as adders and also as quick-access…...

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