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History Of Computers - College Essay

History Of Computers


Only once in a lifetime will a new invention come about to touch every
aspect of our lives. Such a device that changes the way we work, live, and play
is a special one, indeed. A machine that has done all this and more now exists
in nearly every business in the US and one out of every two households (Hall,
156). This incredible invention is the computer. The electronic computer has
been around for over a half-century, but its ancestors have been around for 2000
years. However, only in the last 40 years has it changed the American society.
From the first wooden abacus to the latest high-speed microprocessor, the
computer has changed nearly every aspect of people's lives for the ...

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only add numbers and they had to be entered by
turning dials. It was designed to help Pascal's father who was a tax collector
(Soma, 32).
In the early 1800's, a mathematics professor named Charles Babbage
designed an automatic calculation machine. It was steam powered and could store
up to 1000 50-digit numbers. Built in to his machine were operations that
included everything a modern general-purpose computer would need. It was
programmed by--and stored data on--cards with holes punched in them,
appropriately called “punchcards”. His inventions were failures for the most
part because of the lack of precision machining techniques used at the time and
the lack of demand for such a device (Soma, 46).
After Babbage, people began to lose interest in computers. However,
between 1850 and 1900 there were great advances in mathematics and physics that
began to rekindle the interest (Osborne, 45). Many of these new advances
involved complex calculations and formulas that were very ...

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of a large automatic digital computer
based on standard IBM electromechanical parts. Aiken's machine, called the
Harvard Mark I, handled 23-digit numbers and could perform all four arithmetic
operations. Also, it had special built-in programs to handle logarithms and
trigonometric functions. The Mark I was controlled from prepunched paper tape.
Output was by card punch and electric typewriter. It was slow, requiring 3 to 5
seconds for a multiplication, but it was fully automatic and could complete long
computations without human intervention (Chposky, 103).
The outbreak of World War II produced a desperate need for computing
capability, especially for the military. New weapons ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 8/20/2006 01:30:14 PM
Category: Computers
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 2603
Pages: 10

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