History Of The Computer Essay

1233 words - 5 pages

History of the Computer

The history of the computer can be dated back for years and years and there is still much more to learn and know as we advance our knowledge with this technology. Webster's Dictionary defines computer as, “any programmable electronic device that can store, retrieve, and process data” (A brief 2004).

The core word compute in computer has been termed for over 2000 years. In the beginning, a wooden rack holding strings by two horizontal bars was the very first calculator recorded. The beads were manually moved around by the user and were only used by the user who knew the rules of programming in order for the wooden calculator to be accurate. It is said that ...view middle of the document...

A large problem that Babbage had would be many engineering problems which would not allow his engines to work correctly. He is remembered and is important to computer history because of his idea for the machines. His basic ideas of how the machine would process information is still used to this day (In the beginning 2004).

As the late 1800’s came around, a man named Herman Hollerith developed a computing machine that can read into punched cards. In 1880 the US census bureau took very long to analyze their data; to solve this problem Hollerith came up with punch cards to help analyze the 1890 US census data (Picardi 2003). The punch cards were very efficient in adding and multiplying data. The device helped reduce reading errors, helped work flow increase, and provided a great means of memory storage. It could hold the most memory for a machine of its time (Meyers 2001). The machine would feed in the cards automatically, add or multiply what it needed to, and would feed the cards out with results (2001).

The period from 1935 through 1952 gets murky with claims and counterclaims of who invents what and when. A huge part of the problem lies within the international
situation that makes much of the research secret in order to keep new developments from other countries. Other problems include poor record-keeping, deception and lack of definition (A brief 2004).

As time progressed, many small advances were being made with computers but no big advances were made until World War II came around. World War II caused a great need for computers with a large memory capacity and function at higher speeds. Many computer businesses and colleges were in competition to be the first company or school to fulfill this need for the government. The first computer with this kind of high speed technology was called the ENIAC developed by the Moore school of Electrical Engineering of University of Pennsylvania (Meyers 2001). The ENIAC was efficient in handling problems that it was developed to handle (Picardi 2003). The ENIAC was commonly accepted as the first high-speed electronic digital computer of its time and was used from 1946 to 1955 (2003).

Once the 1950’s rolled around, two very important discoveries were made that made memory processes a lot more advanced than any other computers made at the time. The first discovery was the Magnetic Core Memory; the second was the Transistor- Circuit Element (Meyers 2001). These was of memory storage was able to increase memory storage of RAM from 8,000 words to 64,000 words. Computers at this time were very expensive and mainly could not be afforded by the normal population. Computers were large and took up whole rooms. Only government agencies, large computer centers,...

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