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The History of Computers

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  1. The History of Computers (or “How we’ve come a long way in a short time.”)

  2. Alienware’s 4GHz ALX What is a computer? • The modern definition of a computer is:“An electronic machine that accepts information (called data); processes it according to specific instructions, and provides the results as new information” 286 Computer

  3. What a Computer Was • The term “computer” has been in used since 1646. • It was originally defined as a “person who performs calculations. • Before 1940 machines that did calculations were called: • Calculators • Tabulators • NOT computers • The modern definition started in the 40s.

  4. The Origins of Computers • The Abacus • Dates back to the ancient Orient • Beads represent different values • In used by the Greeks and Romans in 500 B.C.E. • In this example the top frame beads are valued at 5 and the bottom frame beads represent 1 It ruled in the world ofcalculations until the 1500s and is still considered useful today.

  5. The Pascaline • Invented in 1642 by the French mathematician Blaise Pascal • It used sets of gears to perform calculations • It could only perform addition • It could not perform: multiplication or division • Only 50 ever built • Built to help his father, a tax collector Mechanical Calculators Numbers are displayed in these windows Dials are used to input values Notes


  6. The Stepped Reckoner • Built in the late 1600s by Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz, another famous mathematician • It was supposed to be able to add AND subtract, multiply, divide and calculate square roots. (There is some debate on this.) Mechanical Calculators Numbers are displayed in these windows Dials are used to input values Notes

  7. An Aside • In 1801 Joseph Jacquard decides to make a better “mouse trap.” • He creates a loom that can follow “pattern instructions” using a punch card. • The significance is: Programming!

  8. The Difference Engine • Designed in 1822 by Charles Babbage, an English Mathematics Professor. • He felt that machines should be used for and were best at doing repetitive tasks, and that they could do this WITH OUT mistakes. • The Difference Engine was supposed to be able to calculate Differential equations • It was never built and it would be 10 years before he could build something that worked… Mechanical Calculators

  9. The Analytical Engine • Designed by Charles Babbage: • The Analytical Engine was powered by STEAM! • It used punch cards to enter instructions • It had MEMORY! • It could store up to 1,000 numbers 50 decimals long • It could make DECISIONS! • It could provide OUTPUT! • He could not have done this with out the help of Ada Lovelace, considered by many to be the FIRST programmer. Mechanical Calculators Notes

  10. The Analytical Engine Numbers are displayed on these dials Mechanical Calculators

  11. The Electronic Tabulation Machine • Built by Herman Hollerith for the 1890 U.S. census • Used punch card idea of Jacquard to great success • The 1890 U.S. census data took only 6 months to compile. • The 1880 census took 10 years to compile! ElectronicCalculators Notes

  12. The Modern Computer 5 generations long and still growing

  13. “Take the Money and Run.” In the 1969 movie spoofing prison movies Woody Allen’s character, Virgil Starkwell is asked if he has ever used a high speed digital computer. He replies:“Yes, my aunt has one at home.” In 1969, that was hilarious, 30+ years later, it’s very true. This joke was stolen from Dr. Cecil E. Greek of the FSU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice

  14. The 5 Generations of Computers • 1st Gen => 1940-1956: Vacuum Tubes • 2nd Gen => 1956 – 1963: Transistors • 3rd Gen => 1964 – 1971: Integrated Circuits • 4th Gen => 1971 – Present: Microprocessors • 5th Gen => Present & Beyond: AI

  15. 1st Generation: Vacuum Tubes 1st Generation 1940 - 1956 • Very expensive • Very big • Very hot • Used a lot of electricity • Broke down a lot • But boy…were they cool at the time

  16. The Mark I 1st Generation 1940 - 1956 • Built in the 1930s by a joint team from IBM and Harvard University • Project leader: Howard Aiken • It is not considered to be a real computer • Length: 51 feet (15.5 meters) • Weight: 5 tons Note

  17. The ENIAC 1st Generation 1940 - 1956 • Built: 1943 • Project Leaders: John Mauchly & J. Presper Eckert • Electronic Numerical Integration and Calculator • It was considered to be a computer Note

  18. The ENIAC 1st Generation 1940 - 1956 • Specs: • 18,000 vacuum tubes • 70,000 resistors • 10,000 capacitors • 1,500 relays • 6,000 manual switches • 5 million soldered joints • 1800 sq. Feet (167 sq. meters.) • 30 tons • Used 160 kilowatts of electricity • 1,000 times faster than the Mark I Note

  19. Important Historical Point • John von Neumann and the CPU • von Neumann, Mauchly & Eckert build the EDVAC & the EDSAC • EDVAC: Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer • EDSAC: Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Computer

  20. The Transistor 2ndGeneration 1956 - 1963 • Cheaper than vacuum tubes • One transistor could replace many tubes. • They made computerssmaller and cheaper • First appearedin a computerin 1956 3 different transistors showing how they kept getting smaller and smaller Size vs. time

  21. Computers Take Off 2ndGeneration 1956 - 1963 • At this point in time (late 50s), computers explode • Mainframes are common • Basically, things just keep getting smaller and faster…

  22. First Non-binary Languages 2ndGeneration 1956 - 1963 • COBOL & FORTRAN were developed to replace punch cards • Programmers became a common term • Programs could be written using “words,” sentences and mathematical formula (sort of…)

  23. Another Aside – Computer Languages • High level programming languages are developed: • FORTRAN (FORmula TRANslator) • COBOL (Common Business Oriented Language)

  24. Integrated Circuits, Semiconductors and Silicon Discs 3rdGeneration 1964 - 1971 • Starts in the late 60’s • Transistors are miniaturized and built onto silicon chips called semiconductors Circuit paths This chip has ~14,000 transistors on it

  25. Integrated Circuits, Semiconductors and Silicon Discs 3rdGeneration 1964 - 1971 A close up of a circuit board. This is a floppy drive controller

  26. OS & Mass Production 3rdGeneration 1964 - 1971 • Users could interact with 3rd Generation computers using keyboards and monitors. • OSs allowed multiple programs to run at the same time with a central program controlling memory allocations • Computers could be mass produced at affordable rates. Your Aunt could finally have a high speed digital computer at her home!

  27. Birth of the Personal Computer 1 4thGeneration 1971 - Present • Characterized by single silicon chips containing 1000s of integrated circuits • What used to fill an entire room now fit in the palm of your hand • Intel 4004 chip is developed in 1971 • The CPU, memory and all input/output controls are located on the same chip

  28. Birth of the Personal Computer 2 4thGeneration 1971 - Present • 1981 IBM sells its first computer designed for the “home user” • 1984 Apple introduces the Macintosh • Microprocessors begin to move away from the computer into other areas of everyday products • My Grandfather buys his first desktop computer. It draws “great circles”

  29. Birth of the Personal Computer 3 4thGeneration 1971 - Present • Computers start to be networked • GUIs are developed • Mice become something other than a household pest • Handheld computer devices are no longer limited only to Star Trek Note

  30. Tomorrow… 5thGeneration Present and Beyond… • Still in development, computer engineers are working toward the developing a functional AI. • Voice activated and controlled computers • Parallel processing • Quantum computing • Natural language processing and response by computers Note

  31. SummaryHow we HAVE come a long way in a short time • It took approximately 2000 years before a significant step forward in computational technology occurred • It took 248 years to go from a manual calculating machine (Pascal’s Pascaline, 1642) to an electronic calculating machine (Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine, 1890)

  32. SummaryHow we HAVE come a long way in a short time • It only took 50 years to advance to the first real computer • It took approximately 20 years for the integrated circuit to be developed • And in the last 30 years we’ve connected the world through computer technology

  33. The End

  34. Sources • No research is possible without valuable resources. This presentation was built using the following: • www.criminology.fsu.edu/book/chapter1.html • Parsons & Oja, Computer Concepts 5th Ed., Course Technology, Thompson Learning Center • Brookshear, Computer Science, an overview 7th Ed., Addison Wesley Pub. • Webopedia, www.webopedia.com