TOPIC 5 : COMPUTER EVOLUTION | ICS FORM 1
Early Computer Development
The historical background of development of computer
Actually speaking electronic data processing does not go back more than just half a centaury i.e. they are in existence merely from early 1940’s.
In early days when our ancestor used to reside in cave the counting was a problem. Still it is stated becoming difficult.
When they started using stone to count their animals or the possession they never knew that this day will lead to a computer of today.
People today started following a set of procedure to perform calculation with these stones, which later led to creation of a digital counting device, which was the predecessor the first calculating device invented, was know as ABACUS.
DEVELOPMENT OF COMPUTER
a. Calculating machine: The first calculating device was called abacus which was discovered by Egyptian and Chinese people.
b. Napier’s bones (1617’s): This was the calculating device invented by John Napier for calculating products and quotients of numbers.
c. Slide rule (1970’s): This was the first analogy computer.
d. Pascal’s adding and subtraction machine: At the age of 19 years Pascal invented a machine that they can add and subtract large numbers.
e. Leibniz multiplication and division Machine: The first mechanical calculator capable of
dividing and multiplying was invented by Leibniz
f. Babbage’s analytical Engine: In 1960’s electrical calculator that uses vacuum tubes to perform arithmetic operation was discovered later on vacuum tubes replaced by transistors as a result the size of calculator became very small.
g. Mechanical Electrical Calculator: In 1960’s electrical calculator that uses vacuum tubes to perform arithmetic operation was discovered later on vacuum tubes replaced by transistors as a result the size of calculator become very small.
Early computer devices
THE EARLY START
The computers have been around for quite a few years. the first computer was brought around 1951 by business firm. From there computers have changed rapidly many people cannot keep up with changes. These changes have occurred so rapidly that many people do not know our modern computer got its start
THE FIRST COMPUTING MACHINES ” COMPUTERS”
Since the ancient times, people have had ways to deal with data and numbers. Early people tied knots in rope and carved marks on clay tablets to keep track of livestock and trade.some people considered the 5000 year old ABACUS a frame with beads strung on wires to be the first true computing aid as trade and tax system grow in complexity people saw that faster reliable tools were needed for doing math and keeping records.
In the mid 1600’s Blaine Pascal and his father who was a tax officer himself were working on taxes for the French government in Paris. The two spent hours figuring and performing taxes that each citizen owed.
Young blasé decided in 1642 to build an adding and subtraction machine that could side in such a tedious and time consuming process.The machine made by Blase had a set of eight gears that worked together much like an odometer keeps track of car’s mileage. His machine encountered many problems.
For one it was breaking down.Second the machine was slow and extremely costly. And third, people were afraid to use the machine thinking it might replace their jobs. Pascal later became famous for math and philosophy, but he is still remembered for his role in computer technology. In his honor there is a computer language named Paschal.
The next big step for computer arrived in the 1830’s when Charles Babbage decided to build a machine to help him complete and print mathematical tables. Babbage was a mathematician who taught at Cambridge University in England.
He began planning his calculating machine calling it an analytical Engine. The idea for this machine was amazing like the computer we know today. It was to read a program from punched cards, figure and store the answers to different problems and print the answer on paper. Babbage died before he could complete the machine.
However because of his remarkable ideas and work , Babbage is known as the Father of Computers.The next huge step for computers comes when Herman Hollerith entered a contest given by the US census Bureau. The contest was to see who could build a machine that would count and record information faster.
Hollerith, a young man working for the bureau built machine called Tabulating Machine that read and sorted data from the punched cards . The holes punched in the cards matched each person’s answers to questions. For example , married single and divorces were answers on the card.
The tabulator read the punched cards as they passed over tiny brushes. Each time a brush found a hole it completed an electrical circuit. This caused special counting dials to increase the data for that answer. Thanks to Hollerith’s machine instead of taking seven and a half years to count the census information it only took three years , even with 13 million more people since the last census.
Happy with his success, Hollerith formed the Tabulating Machine company become the
International business Machines corporation, better known today as IBM.
THE FIRST ELECTRIC POWERED COMPUTER
What is considered to be the first computer was made in 1944 by Harvard’s Professor Howard Aiken.
The Mark I computer was very much like the design of Charles Babbage having mainly mechanical parts, but with some electronic parts.
His machine was designed to be programmed to do many computer jobs.
This is all purpose machine is what we now know as the PC or personal Computer. The Mark I was the first computer financed by IBM and was about 50 feet long and 8 feet tall.
It used mechanical switches to open and close its electric circuits. It contained over 500 miles of wire and 750,000 parts.
THE FIRST OF ALL ELECTRONIC COMPUTER
The first all electronic computer was the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer). ENIAC was a general purpose digital computer built in 4946 by J. Prosper Eckert and John Mushily.
The ENIAC contained over 18,000 vacuum tubes ( used instead of mechanical switches of the Mark I) and was 1000 times faster than the Mark I. In twenty seconds
, ENIAC could do a math problem that would have taken 40 hours for one person to finish.
The ENIAC was built the time of World War II had as its first job to calculate the feasibility of a design for the hydrogen bomb. The ENIAC was 100 feet long and 10 feet tall.
MORE MODERN COMPUTERS
A more modern type computer began with John Von Neumann’s development of software written in binary code.
It was Von Neumann who began the practice of storing data and instructions in binary code and initiated the use of memory to store data , as well as programs.
A computer called EDVAC ( Electronic Discrete Variable Computer) was built using binary code in 1950.
Before the EDVAC , computers like the ENIAC could do only one task then they had to be rewired to perform a deferent task or program.
The EDVAC’S concept of storing different programs on punched cards instead of rewriting computers led to the computers that we know today.
While the modern computer is far better and faster than the EDVAC of its time, computers of today would not have been possible with the knowledge and work of many great mentors and pioneers.