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“The History Of Computers”

-Zuhaib Ahmed
BS(CS) – 1B
13CS21
20.January.2013

Class Assignment

Weekly Newsletter

History of Computers

The term Computer is first used in 1613 for a person who is responsible for calculation usually through a Calculator. It is derived from word ‘Compute’. As name suggests, it is a device that is capable to compute data. But the modern definition of computer is different form what mentioned above. The most common and acceptable definition of a computer is:

“an electronic device which is capable of receiving information (data) in a particular form and of performing a sequence of operations in accordance with a predetermined but variable set of procedural instructions (program) to produce a result in the form of information or signals.” The term computer normally refers to a machine consisting of: * A Central Processing Unit

* A Monitor
* A Keyboard
Today we have many additional accessories available for a computer such as Mouse, Speakers, Microphone, Webcam and Game Controller etc…

Characteristics of a computer
Computers are famous and widely used because of it’s following characteristics: * Speed
* Accuracy
* Reliability
* Versatility
* Power
* Vast memory
* Non-Emotional

General History

Historians divide the history of computer in 3 Ages:
* Dark age - 300 BC to 1890
* Middle age - 1890 AD to 1944
* Modern age - since 1944 AD

Dark Age (300 BC to 1890)
The early computers had very limited functions. We can see that the very first computer (ABACUS) was not even able to CALCULATE. It can only perform ADDITIONs. Then with the passage of time, as the need of an advanced machine felt. The evolution in the technology started. Many scientists came up with different innovations. Here I am giving the example of some Computer-Like-Devices from the DARK AGES with some different techniques and technologies. * SUMERIAN ABACUS

As name suggests, this device was capable of doing addition operations. According to historians, it was designed around in 2500 BC in JAPAN. It consisted of a wooden rectangular frame with a series of beads sliding on wires, but originally they were beans or stones moved in grooves in sand or on tablets of wood, stone, or metal. * ABACUS

Then came the traditional Abacus. It was not much different from the early Japanese (or Chinese to some people) version of Abacus. It had same design as well as method of use. But, this one possesses the ability to Subtract as well as Addition. This model became very popular and was used through many centuries around the world. * SLIDE RULE

Although Abacus was upgraded to the level where is able to do Additions as well as Subtractions, but still, there is a need for a device that is capable of performing Divisions and Multiplications. For this purpose William Oughtred came up with SLIDE RULE in the 17th century. In its most common form, it consists of two scales which allows user to perform Multiplications and Divisions rapidly. Not only this, this device allowed user to perform more advanced calculations such as Square Roots, Logarithms, Exponentials and Trigonometric Functions. These features made it the best Computing device of it’s time. Slide rule was the most commonly used device till the invention of Pocket Calculator. * DIFFERENCE ENGINE

The Difference Engine was the first Automatic Mechanical Calculator designed by Charles Babbage. It can perform all the operations as those of Slide Rule, but what differentiates it from Slide Rule was that it was capable of performing polynomial operations as well. Because of this invention, Charles Babbage was named “THE FATHER OF COMPUTER”. * JAQUARD’s LOOM

In the beginning of 19th century, Joseph Jacquard introduced an improved form of Textile loom. The purpose of the device was to simplify the process of manufacturing complex patterns of textiles. This device used the Punch Card technology.

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