History of Computers

History of Computers

The word ‘computer’ has a very interesting origin. It was first used in the 16th century for a person who used to compute, i.e. do calculations. The word was used in the same sense as a noun until the 20th century. Women were hired as human computers to carry out all forms of calculations and computations.

By the last part of the 19th century, the word was also used to describe machines that did calculations. The modern-day use of the word is generally to describe programmable digital devices that run on electricity.

History of Computers

Early History of Computer

Since the evolution of humans, devices have been used for calculations for thousands of years. One of the earliest and well-known devices was an abacus. Then in 1822, the father of computers, Charles Babbage began developing what would be the first mechanical computer. And then it 1833 he actually designed an Analytical Engine which was a general purpose computer. It contained an ALU, some basic flow chart principles and the concept of integrated memory.

Then more than a century later in the history of computers, we got our first electronic computer for general purpose. It was the ENIAC, which stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. The inventors of this computer were John W. Mauchly and J.Presper Eckert.

And with times the technology developed and the computers got smaller and the processing got faster. We got our first laptop in 1981 and it was introduced by Adam Osborne and EPSON.

Generations of Computers

In the history of computers, we often refer to the advancements of modern computers as the generation of computers. We are currently on the fifth generation of computers. So let us look at the important features of these five generations of computers.

  • 1st Generation: This was from the period of 1940 to 1955. This was when machine language was developed for the use of computers. They used vacuum tubes for the circuitry. For the purpose of memory, they used magnetic drums.
  • 2nd Generation: 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.
  • 3rd Generation: The hallmark of this period (1964-1971) was the development of the integrated circuit.
  • 4th Generation: The invention of the microprocessors brought along the fourth generation of computers. This was when we started producing computers for home use. Another important aspect is the development of higher computer languages like C++ and Java.
  • 5th Generation: This is the present and the future of the computer world. The defining aspect of this generation is artificial intelligence. The use of parallel processing and superconductors are making this a reality and provide a lot of scope for the future.

Practice Questions for You

Q: The principle of modern computers was proposed by ____

  1. Steve Jobs
  2. Adam Osborne
  3. Alan Turing
  4. Charles Babbage

Ans: The correct answer is C.

Q: Who introduced the first computer form home use in 1981?

  1. IMB
  2. Apple
  3. Microsoft
  4. Sun Technology

Ans: Answer is A. IBM made the first home use personal computer.

Q: Third generation computers used which programming language?

  1. Java
  2. Machine language
  3. FORTRAN
  4. C and C++

Ans: The correct option is D.

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