The History of Computers: From Pre-Computer Hardware to Modern Computers
Computers have come a long way since their early beginnings. In this essay, we will take a brief look at the history of computers, starting from pre-computer hardware to modern computers.
2. The history of computers: from pre-computer hardware to modern computers
The history of computers can be traced back to ancient times. One of the earliest calculating devices was the abacus, which was used in China and other parts of East Asia for thousands of years. In 1642, Blaise Pascal invented the Pascaline, one of the first mechanical calculators. In 1673, Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz invented the Stepped Reckoner, another early mechanical calculator.
In 1801, Joseph-Marie Jacquard invented the loom, which was a textile machine that could be programmed using punched cards. This was an important development because it showed that machines could be controlled by programs. In 1833, Charles Babbage designed the Analytical Engine, a mechanical computer that could be programmed to perform any calculation that could be done by hand. However, the machine was never completed. In 1876, Babbage also designed the Difference Engine, a mechanical calculator that could automatically compute mathematical tables. However, like the Analytical Engine, the Difference Engine was also never completed.
In 1890, Herman Hollerith invented the punch card tabulating machine, which was used to tabulate census data. This machine was an important step in the development of modern computers because it showed that computers could be used for data processing tasks. In 1941, Konrad Zuse designed and built the Z3, one of the first programmable computers. The Z3 was destroyed in 1943 during a bombing raid on Berlin but its design was later used in the development of commercial computers.
In 1937, John Atanasoff and Clifford Berry developed the Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC), one of the first electronic computers. However, this machine was not actually built until 1973 when two professors at Iowa State University decided to reconstruct it. In 1946, J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly designed and built the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer), one of the first general-purpose electronic computers. The ENIAC was huge (it filled a room) and used vacuum tubes instead of transistors (which were not invented until 1947).
In 1951, UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer I) became the first commercial computer sales company in America and delivered its first computer (the UNIVAC 494) in 1953. In 1956, IBM introduced its first commercially available transistorized computer: the IBM 1401. The IBM 1401 was much smaller and faster than earlier computers and quickly became very popular with businesses who used it for tasks such as accounting and inventory control.
The 1960s saw the development of several important new computer technologies including integrated circuits (which led to smaller and more powerful computers), time-sharing (which allowed multiple users to share a single computer), and high-level programming languages (which made programming easier). These developments eventually led to the development of personal computers in the 1970s which were small enough to be used in people’s homes and offices.
In conclusion, computers have come a long way since their early beginnings. Early computers were large, expensive, and used vacuum tubes. Today, computers are small, relatively inexpensive, and use transistors. Personal computers have made computing power available to ordinary people and have led to the development of new technologies such as the Internet and the World Wide Web.