The Early History Of Computers

Since the beginning of human evolution, devices have been employed for calculating. An abacus was one of the earliest and most well-known devices. Charles Babbage, the inventor of the computer, started work on the first mechanical computer in 1822. Finally, he created an analytical engine, a general-purpose computer, in 1833. It had an ALU, some fundamentals of flowcharts, and the idea of integrated memory.

The first electrical computer for general use arrived more than a century later in computer history. It was the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC. This computer was created by J.Presper Eckert and John W. Mauchly. As technology advanced throughout time, computers shrank in size and processed information more quickly. Adam Osborne and EPSON introduced the first laptop that we owned in 1981.

Generations of Computers

The development of modern computers is frequently referred to as the first generation of computers in computer history. We are currently using computers from the fifth generation. Let’s examine the key characteristics of these five computer generations below.

1st Generation: This covered the years 1940 through 1955. At this time, machine language was created specifically for use with computers. For the circuitry, vacuum tubes were employed. They employed magnetic drums to aid in memorization. These were complex, expensive, and enormous machinery. They typically used punch cards and batch operating systems. Magnetic tape and paper tape were used as input and output devices, respectively. ENIAC, UNIVAC-1, EDVAC, etc.

2nd Generation: The years 1957-1963 were referred to as the “second generation of computers” at the time. In second-generation computers, COBOL and FORTRAN are employed as assembly languages and programming languages. Here they advanced from vacuum tubes to transistors. This made the computers smaller, faster and more energy-efficient. And they advanced from binary to assembly languages. For instance, IBM 1620, IBM 7094, CDC 1604, CDC 3600, and so forth.

3rd Generation: The invention of the integrated circuit was a defining feature of this time (1964–1971) period. A computer’s power is increased while its cost is decreased because an integrated circuit (IC) is made up of several transistors. These computers outperformed their forerunners in terms of speed, size, dependability, and cost. High-level programming languages were used, including PASCAL PL/1, COBOL, and FORTRON-II to IV. For instance, the Honeywell 6000 series, the IBM 370/168, and the IBM-360 series.

4th Generation: The fourth generation of computers was introduced with the development of microprocessors. Fourth-generation computers dominated the years between 1971 and 1980. The programming languages used in this generation of computers were C, C++, and Java. The STAR 1000, PDP 11, CRAY-1, CRAY-X-MP, and Apple II are a few examples.  Computers were now built for home usage at this time.

5th Generation: Since 1980, and until now, these computers have been in use. This represents both the computer industry’s current and its future. Artificial intelligence is what makes this generation distinct. This is becoming a reality and offers a ton of potential for the future thanks to the usage of parallel computing and superconductors. Ultra Large-Scale Integration (ULSI) technology is used in fifth-generation computers. These are the most advanced and modern computers. Programming languages including C, C++, Java, .Net, and others are used. IBM Pentium, for instance, as well as desktop, laptop, notebook, ultra-book, and other devices.

Brief History of Computers

Before the true power of computation could be understood, the naive notion of computation had to be overcome. The tireless workers who created the computer had to understand that it was more than just a calculator or number cruncher. They had to deal with all of the challenges involved in coming up with such a machine, putting the idea into practice, and creating the thing. The history of the computer is the history of these challenges being overcome.

19th Century

1801 – Joseph Marie Jacquard, a weaver, and businessman from France, devised a loom that employed punched wooden cards to automatically weave cloth designs.

1822 – Charles Babbage, a mathematician, invented the steam-powered calculating machine capable of calculating number tables. The “Difference Engine” idea failed owing to a lack of technology at the time.

1848 – The world’s first computer program was written by Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician. Lovelace also includes a step-by-step tutorial on how to compute Bernoulli numbers using Babbage’s machine.

1890 – Herman Hollerith, an inventor, creates the punch card technique used to calculate the 1880 U.S. census. He would go on to start the corporation that would become IBM.

Early 20th Century

1930 – The differential Analyzer was the first large-scale automatic general-purpose mechanical analogue computer invented and built by Vannevar Bush.

1936 – Alan Turing had an idea for a universal machine, which he called the Turing machine, that could compute anything that could be computed.

1939 – Hewlett-Packard was discovered in a garage in Palo Alto, California by Bill Hewlett and David Packard.

1941 – Konrad Zuse, a German inventor and engineer, completed his Z3 machine, the world’s first digital computer. However, the machine was destroyed during a World War II bombing strike on Berlin.

1941 – J.V. Atanasoff and graduate student Clifford Berry devise a computer capable of solving 29 equations at the same time. The first time a computer can store data in its primary memory.

1945 – University of Pennsylvania academics John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert create an Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator (ENIAC). It was Turing-complete and capable of solving “a vast class of numerical problems” by reprogramming, earning it the title of “Grandfather of computers.”

1946 – The UNIVAC I (Universal Automatic Computer) was the first general-purpose electronic digital computer designed in the United States for corporate applications.

1949 – The Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC), developed by a team at the University of Cambridge, is the “first practical stored-program computer.”

1950 – The Standards Eastern Automatic Computer (SEAC) was built in Washington, DC, and it was the first stored-program computer completed in the United States.

Late 20th Century

1953 – Grace Hopper, a computer scientist, creates the first computer language, which becomes known as COBOL, which stands for COmmon, Business-Oriented Language. It allowed a computer user to offer the computer instructions in English-like words rather than numbers.

1954 – John Backus and a team of IBM programmers created the FORTRAN programming language, an acronym for FORmula TRANslation. In addition, IBM developed the 650.

1958 – The integrated circuit, sometimes known as the computer chip, was created by Jack Kirby and Robert Noyce.

1962 – Atlas, the computer, makes its appearance. It was the fastest computer in the world at the time, and it pioneered the concept of “virtual memory.”

1964 – Douglas Engelbart proposes a modern computer prototype that combines a mouse and a graphical user interface (GUI).

1969 – Bell Labs developers, led by Ken Thompson and Dennis Ritchie, revealed UNIX, an operating system developed in the C programming language that addressed program compatibility difficulties.

1970 – The Intel 1103, the first Dynamic Access Memory (DRAM) chip, is unveiled by Intel.

1971 – The floppy disc was invented by Alan Shugart and a team of IBM engineers. In the same year, Xerox developed the first laser printer, which not only produced billions of dollars but also heralded the beginning of a new age in computer printing.

1973 – Robert Metcalfe, a member of Xerox’s research department, created Ethernet, which is used to connect many computers and other gear.

1974 – Personal computers were introduced into the market. The first were the Altair Scelbi & Mark-8, IBM 5100, and Radio Shack’s TRS-80.

1975 – Popular Electronics magazine touted the Altair 8800 as the world’s first minicomputer kit in January. Paul Allen and Bill Gates offer to build software in the BASIC language for the Altair.

1976 – Apple Computers is founded by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, who expose the world to the Apple I, the first computer with a single-circuit board.

1977 – At the first West Coast Computer Faire, Jobs and Wozniak announce the Apple II. It has colour graphics and a cassette drive for storing music.

1978 – The first computerized spreadsheet program, VisiCalc, is introduced.

1979 – WordStar, a word processing tool from MicroPro International, is released.

1981 – IBM unveils the Acorn, their first personal computer, which has an Intel CPU, two floppy drives, and a colour display. The MS-DOS operating system from Microsoft is used by Acorn.

1983 – The CD-ROM, which could carry 550 megabytes of pre-recorded data, hit the market. This year also saw the release of the Gavilan SC, the first portable computer with a flip-form design and the first to be offered as a “laptop.”

1984 – Apple launched Macintosh during the Superbowl XVIII commercial. It was priced at $2,500

1985 – Microsoft introduces Windows, which enables multitasking via a graphical user interface. In addition, the programming language C++ has been released.

1990 – Tim Berners-Lee, an English programmer and scientist, creates HyperText Markup Language, widely known as HTML. He also coined the term “WorldWideWeb.” It includes the first browser, a server, HTML, and URLs.

1993 – The Pentium CPU improves the usage of graphics and music on personal computers.

1995 – Microsoft’s Windows 95 operating system was released. A $300 million promotional campaign was launched to get the news out. Sun Microsystems introduces Java 1.0, followed by Netscape Communications’ JavaScript.

1996 – At Stanford University, Sergey Brin and Larry Page created the Google search engine.

1998 – Apple introduces the iMac, an all-in-one Macintosh desktop computer. These PCs cost $1,300 and came with a 4GB hard drive, 32MB RAM, a CD-ROM, and a 15-inch monitor.

1999 – Wi-Fi, an abbreviation for “wireless fidelity,” is created, originally covering a range of up to 300 feet.

21st Century

2000 – The USB flash drive is first introduced in 2000. They were speedier and had more storage space than other storage media options when used for data storage.

2001 – Apple releases Mac OS X, later renamed OS X and eventually simply macOS, as the successor to its conventional Mac Operating System.

2003 – Customers could purchase AMD’s Athlon 64, the first 64-bit CPU for consumer computers.

2004 – Facebook began as a social networking website.

2005 – Google acquires Android, a mobile phone OS based on Linux.

2006 – Apple’s MacBook Pro was available. The Pro was the company’s first dual-core, Intel-based mobile computer.

Amazon Web Services, including Amazon Elastic Cloud 2 (EC2) and Amazon Simple Storage Service, were also launched (S3)

2007 – The first iPhone was produced by Apple, bringing many computer operations into the palm of our hands. Amazon also released the Kindle, one of the first electronic reading systems, in 2007.

2009 – Microsoft released Windows 7.

2011 – Google introduces the Chromebook, which runs Google Chrome OS.

2014 – The University of Michigan Micro Mote (M3), the world’s smallest computer, was constructed.

2015 – Apple introduces the Apple Watch. Windows 10 was also released by Microsoft.

2016 – The world’s first reprogrammable quantum computer is built.


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