History of Computing

Topics: Computer, Personal computer, Operating system Pages: 15 (2798 words) Published: July 31, 2013
Milestones in Computer History: 2001 Timeline
from a poster © 2000 Course Technology
Discovering Computers 2008: Timeline 2008
from a poster Course Technology
for the book Discovering Computers 2008
by Shelly, Cashman, Vermeat

Dr. John V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry designed and build the first electronic digital computer. Their machine, the Atanasoff-Berry-Computer, or ABC, provides the foundation for advances in electronic digital computers.

During World War II, British scientist Alan Turing designed the Colossus, an electronic computer for the military to break German codes. The computer’s existence is kept secret until the 1970s.

Dr. John von Neumann writes a brilliant paper describing the stored program concept. His breakthrough idea, where memory holds both data and stored programs, lays the foundation for all digital computers that have since been built.

Dr. John W. Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert, Jr. complete work on the first large-scale electronic, general-purpose digital computer. The ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) weighs thirty tons, contains 18,000 vacuum tubes, occupies a thirty-by-fifty-foot space, and consumes 160 kilowatts of power. The first time it is turned on, lights dim in an entire section of Philadelphia.

William Shockley, John Bardeen, and Walter Brattain invent the transfer resistance device, eventually called the transistor. The transistor would revolutionize computers, proving much more reliable then vacuum tubes.

The first commercially available electronic digital computer, the UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer), is introduced by Remington Rand. Public awareness of computers increases when the UNIVAC I, after analyzing only 5 percent of the popular vote, correctly predicts presidential election. 1952

Dr. Grace Hopper considers the concept of reusable software in her paper, “The Education of a Computer.” The paper describes how to program a computer with symbolic notation instead of the detailed machine language that has been used.

The IBM model 650 is one of the first widely used computer systems. Originally planning to produce only 50 machines, the system is so successful that eventually IBM manufactures more then 1,000. With the IBM 700 series of machine, the company will dominate the mainframe market for the next decade.

Core memory, developed in the early 1950’s, (by An Wang ?) provides much larger storage capacity then vacuum tube memory.

The IBM 305 RAMAC system is the first to use magnetic disk for external storage. The system provides storage capacity similar to magnetic tape that previously was used, but offers the advantage of semi-random access capability.

FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslation), an efficient, easy-to-use programming language, is introduced by John Backus.

Computers built with transistors mark the beginning of the second generation of computer hardware.

More than 200 programming languages have been created.

IBM introduces two smaller, desk-sized computers: the IBM 1602 initially is called the CADET, but IBM drops the name when campus wags claim it is an acronym for, Can’t Add, Doesn’t Even Try.

COBOL, a high level business application language, is developed by a committee headed by Dr. Grace Hopper. COBOL uses English-like phrases and runs on most business computers, making it one of the more widely used programming languages.

The number of computers has grown 18,000.

Third-generation computers, with their controlling circuitry stored on chips, are introduced. The IBM System/360 computer is the first family of compatible machines, merging science and business lines.

Dr. John Kemeny of Dartmouth leads the development of the BASIC programming language. BASIC will be widely used on personal computers.

Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) introduces the first...
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