History of Computer

History of Computer

We can better understand the History of Computer by learning sequences from Pre 20th century till now. Earlier Computer was not so small or compact or portable. Computers were initially large machines that could fill entire room.
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.

In the 1950's two devices would be invented that would improve the computer field and set in motion the beginning of the computer revolution. The first of these two devices was the transistor. Invented in 1947 by William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain of Bell Labs, the transistor was fated to oust the days of vacuum tubes in computers, radios, and other electronics.
The 1960s saw large mainframe computers become much more common in large industries and with the US military and space program. IBM became the unquestioned market leader in selling these large, expensive, error-prone, and very hard to use machines.

ABACUS - The history of computer begins with the birth of abacus which is believed to be the first computer. It is said that Chinese invented Abacus around 4,000 years ago. It was a wooden rack which has metal rods with beads mounted on them. The beads were moved by the abacus operator according to some rules to perform arithmetic calculations.

PASCALINE - Pascaline is also known as Arithmetic Machine or Adding Machine. It was invented between 1642 and 1644 by a French mathematician-philosopher Biaise Pascal. It is believed that it was the first mechanical and automatic calculator. Pascal invented this machine to help his father, a tax accountant. It could only perform addition and subtraction. It was a wooden box with a series of gears and wheels.

DIFFERENCE ENGINE –  In the early 1820s, it was designed by Charles Babbage who is known as "Father of Modern Computer". It was a mechanical computer which could perform simple calculations. It was a steam driven calculating machine designed to solve tables of numbers like logarithm tables.

FIRST GENERATION: 1937 – 1946 - In 1937 the first electronic digital computer was built by Dr. John V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry. It was called the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC). In 1943 an electronic computer name the Colossus was built for the military. Other developments continued until in 1946 the first general– purpose digital computer, the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer (ENIAC) was built. It is said that this computer weighed 30 tons, and had 18,000 vacuum tubes which was used for processing. When this computer was turned on for the first time lights dim in sections of Philadelphia. Computers of this generation could only perform single task, and they had no operating system.

SECOND GENERATION: 1947 – 1962 - This generation of computers used transistors instead of vacuum tubes which were more reliable. In 1951 the first computer for commercial use was introduced to the public; the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC 1). In 1953 the International Business Machine (IBM) 650 and 700 series computers made their mark in the computer world. During this generation of computers over 100 computer programming languages were developed, computers had memory and operating systems. Storage media such as tape and disk were in use also were printers for output.

THIRD GENERATION: 1963 - 1970 - The invention of integrated circuit brought us the third generation of computers. With this invention computers became smaller, more powerful more reliable and they are able to run many different programs at the same time.

FOURTH GENERATION – (1971-1980) - The fourth generation computers used very large scale integrated (VLSI) circuits; a chip containing millions of transistors and other circuit elements. These chips made this generation computers more compact, powerful, fast and affordable. These generation computers used real time, time sharing and distributed operating system. The programming languages like C, C++, DBASE were also used in this generation.

FIFTH GENERATION – (1980-PRESENT) - In fifth generation computers, the VLSI technology was replaced with ULSI (Ultra Large Scale Integration). It made possible the production of microprocessor chips with ten million electronic components. This generation computers used parallel processing hardware and AI (Artificial Intelligence) software. The programming languages used in this generation were C, C++, Java, .Net, etc.

In 1964 - Douglas Engelbart shows a prototype of the modern computer, with a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI). This marks the evolution of the computer from a specialized machine for scientists and mathematicians to technology that is more accessible to the general public.
In 1969 - A group of developers at Bell Labs produce UNIX, an operating system that addressed compatibility issues. Written in the C programming language, UNIX was portable across multiple platforms and became the operating system of choice among mainframes at large companies and government entities.
In 1970 - The newly formed Intel unveils the Intel 1103, the first Dynamic Access Memory (DRAM) chip.
In 1971 - Alan Shugart leads a team of IBM engineers who invent the "floppy disk," allowing data to be shared among computers.
In 1973 - Robert Metcalfe, a member of the research staff for Xerox, develops Ethernet for connecting multiple computers and other hardware.
In 1977 - Radio Shack's initial production run of the TRS-80 was just 3,000. It sold like crazy. For the first time, non-geeks could write programs and make a computer do what they wished.
In 1983 - Apple's Lisa is the first personal computer with a GUI. It also features a drop-down menu and icons. It flops but eventually evolves into the Macintosh. The Gavilan SC is the first portable computer with the familiar flip form factor and the first to be marketed as a "laptop."
In 2001 - Apple unveils the Mac OS X operating system, which provides protected memory architecture and pre-emptive multi-tasking, among other benefits.
In 2010 - Apple unveils the iPad, changing the way consumers view media and jumpstarting the dormant tablet computer segment.

The progression in hardware representation of a bit of data: History of Computer

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.
As a result of the various improvements to the development of the computer we have seen the computer being used in all areas of life. It is a very useful tool that will continue to experience new development as time passes.

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