Essay on History of the Computer

1158 Words Apr 14th, 2006 5 Pages
The History of the Computer
Long before computers were invented, humans realized the need for them. The history of the Computer started about 2000 years ago with the abacus. It is a wooden rack holding two horizontal wires with beads strung on them and was one of the best calculating machines until the seventeenth century (PBS, 1). In 1835, English inventor, Charles Babbage came up with the idea of the Analytical Machine, a general purpose, fully programmed-controlled, automatic mechanical digital computer, which consisted of two parts, a calculating section and a storage section. His machine was capable of reading the punched holes in cards, just as the loom did (Campbell-Kelly, 15-17). In 1890 Herman Hollerith and James Powers,
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Both the Mark I and ENIAC were used to improve the ways weapons worked during World War II. Not all computers during the early postwar era were for military items. IBM, UNIVAC, and Control Data all sold huge and expensive computers to the civilian government and to big businesses. They helped businesses keep track of every worker's hours, what he or she was paid and how much Social Security and income tax was being withheld. The first transistor was created in 1947 in Bell Telephone Laboratories by William Shockley and others. Transistors could perform a crucial on-off switch in a tiny fraction of a second. They were one hundred times smaller than vacuum tubes, worked faster, used less electricity and broke down less frequently (PBS, 2). Advances in technology made it possible to produce circuits containing many transistors, called integrated circuits. In 1971, Intel introduced an intergraded circuit containing a complete central processing unit, which makes all the decisions in a computer; it became known as the microprocessor or microchip (Campbell-Kelly, 222). This concentration of so many transistors in a single chip has several advantages, including the ability to process information at a higher speed. A microchip the size of a penny may

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