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CS101 Introduction to Computing Lecture 2 Evolution of Computing. During the Last Lecture …. We learnt about the Analytical Engine - the first general-purpose, digital computer – and its inventor Charles Babbage

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CS101 Introduction to Computing Lecture 2 Evolution of Computing

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during the last lecture
During the Last Lecture …
  • We learnt about the Analytical Engine - the first general-purpose, digital computer – and its inventor Charles Babbage
  • We had a discussion about the key strengths (speed, storage, do not get bored) and weaknesses (pattern recognition, innovative ideas) of the modern computer
today s goal
Today’s Goal
  • To learn about the evolution of computing
  • To recount the important and key events
  • To learn about some of the milestones on the journey that has taken us from Babbage’s idea of the Analytical Engine to today’s ultra-smart hand held computers

But first, why should we spend time on recounting the events of the past?Why not just talk about what is happening in computing now and what is going to happen in the future?Why not?

If you do not learn from the history, you are condemned to repeat it
  • Recounting the events of the past provides an excellent opportunity to:
    • learn lessons
    • discover patterns of positive evolution, and
    • use them in the future
  • If we learn from history well, we will:
    • neither repeat the mistakes of the past
    • nor would we waste time re-inventing what already has been invented
having established the important of history
Having established the important of history …
  • Let’s start recounting some of the important milestones in the evolution of computing
babbage s analytical engine 1833
Babbage’s Analytical Engine - 1833
  • Mechanical, digital, general-purpose
  • Was crank-driven
  • Could store instructions
  • Could perform mathematical calculations
  • Had the ability to print
  • Could punched cards as permanent memory
punched cards 1801
Punched Cards - 1801
  • Initially, had no relationship with computers
  • Invented by a Frenchman named Joseph-Marie Jacquard for storing weaving patterns for automated textile looms (“khuddian”)
  • Their value for storing computer-related information was later realized by the early computer builders
  • Punched cards were replaced my magnetic storage only in the early 1950s
protests against jacquard s invention
Protests Against Jacquard’s Invention
  • Hand weavers saw the automatic loom as a threat to their livelihood
  • They burned several of the new machines
  • A few weavers even physically assaulted Jacquard
turing machine 1936
Turing Machine - 1936
  • Alan Turing of Cambridge University presented his idea of a theoretically simplified but fully capable computer, now known as the “Turing Machine”
  • The concept of this machine, which could theoretically perform any mathematical computation, was very important in the future development of the computer
  • You will learn about the details of the “Turing Machine” in your advanced Computer Science courses
another interesting contribution by alan turing
Another interesting contribution by Alan Turing
  • The “Turing test”
  • A test proposed to determine if a computer has the ability to think
  • So far no one has built a computer that can pass that test
  • There is cash prize of US$100,000 for the first computer that passes it










on its own




turing test
Turing Test
  • An interrogator is connected to one person and one machine via a terminal, and can't see her counterparts
  • The interrogator’s task is to find out which of the two candidates is the machine, and which is the human only by asking them questions. If the machine can "fool" the interrogator, it passes the “Turing Test”.

Enough about Alan Turing and two of his landmark contributions towards computingLet’s look at another milestone in the evolution of computing

vacuum tube 1904
Vacuum Tube - 1904
  • John Fleming, an English Physicist, developed the very first one
  • Made electronic computers possible
  • The key advantage of tubes was that they made 1000 or more times faster computers possible as compared with mechanical or electro-mechanical computers.
  • These tubes have now been almost completely replaced by more reliable and less costly transistors

It was a very useful technology for computing, but it took 35 years before vacuum tubes appeared in a computer.And that first electronic computer was the ABC

abc 1939
ABC - 1939
  • Attanasoff-Berry Computer
  • John Attanasoff & Clifford Berry at Iowa State College
  • World’s first electronic computer
  • The first computer that used binary numbers instead of decimal
  • Was built to help grad students in solving simultaneous linear equations
harvard mark 1 1943
Harvard Mark 1 - 1943
  • Howard Aiken of Harvard University
  • A large scale, general-purpose computer
  • Included all the ideas proposed by Babbage for the Analytical Engine
  • Did not find much use as the electronic-age of computing had already started. It was just too slow
  • It was the last famous electromechanical computer
eniac 1946
ENIAC – 1946
  • Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer
  • World’s first large-scale, general-purpose electronic computer. 1000 times faster than the Harvard Mark 1
  • Built by John Mauchly & John Echert at the University of Pennsylvania
  • Developed for military applications
  • 5,000 operations/sec 19,000 tubes 30 ton 9’ x 80’
  • 150 kilowatts: Used to dim the lights in the City of Philadelphia down when it ran
transistor 1947
Transistor - 1947
  • Invented by Shockly, Bardeen, and Brattain at the Bell Labs in the US
  • Compared to vacuum tubes, it offered:
    • smaller size
    • better reliability
    • lower power consumption
    • lower cost
  • All modern computers are made from miniaturized transistors
  • Tubes replaced mechanicals
  • Transistors replaced tubes
  • What is going to replace the transistors?
floppy disk 1950
Floppy Disk - 1950
  • Invented at the Imperial University in Tokyo by Yoshiro Nakamats
  • Provided faster access to programs and data as compared with magnetic tape
  • Magnetic tape (like audio cassette) allows sequential access to the things that are stored; floppy disks allow direct access, just like CD’s

A very important event took place in 1951Until now, most all computers were designed for military or government use. And generally were custom-made for the taskIn 1951, the first mass-produced commercial computer was introduced. It was the …… UNIVAC 1

univac 1 1951
UNIVAC 1 - 1951
  • UNIVersal Automatic Computer
  • Echert & Mauchly Computer Company
  • First computer that could not only manipulate numbers but text data as well
  • Max speed:1905ops/sec, Cost: US$1,000,000
  • 5000 tubes. 943 cu ft. 8 tons. 100 kilowatts
  • Between 1951-57, 48 were sold

So far, we have spoken about computer hardware onlyLet us now introduce ourselves to one of the key events in the evolution of computer programming …... the invention of the compiler

compiler 1952
Compiler - 1952
  • Grace Hopper, US Navy, develops the very first high-level language compiler
  • Before the invention of the compiler, developing a computer program was tedious & prone to errors as the native language of digital computers (consisting of 1’s and 0’s) is very different from how human communicate
  • A compiler translates a high-level language (that is easy to understand for humans) into a low-level language that the computer can understand
  • We’ll have further discussions on the native language of computers and compilers later in the course
Computer hardware is made useful with the help of programming languages
  • What makes computers even more useful is when they are able to communicate with each other even if they are located at great distance from each other
  • One of the key milestones in this area was the formation of ARPANET in 1969
arpa net 1969
ARPANET - 1969
  • Developed for the US DoD Advanced Research Projects Agency
  • A network of networks
  • The grand-daddy of the today’s global Internet
  • A network of around 60,000 computers developed to facilitate communications among research organizations and universities
Two of the key features of modern computers are their low-cost and very small size
  • These are made possible due to the use of a miniature, inexpensive component called a microprocessor
  • The first microprocessor was the Intel 4004
intel 4004 1971
Intel 4004 - 1971
  • Microprocessor: a computer on a chip
  • Invented by Ted Hoff at Intel
  • Was 1/6 x 1/8in with 2,250 transistors (modern microprocessors contain 10s of millions of transistors)
  • As powerful as the ENIAC
Microprocessors led the way towards the development of micro-computers and PC’s
  • The 1st commercial PC is considered to be the Altair 8800. It was introduced in 1975
altair 8800 1975
Altair 8800 - 1975
  • MITS– Micro Instruments Telemetry Systems
  • Based on the Intel 8080 microprocessor
  • Cost $397
  • Had 256 bytes of memory (my PC at home has a million times more)
  • Input was provided to it through small on-off switches; it displayed output through a bank of very small lights
PC was a new category of computers and were introduced in 1975
  • The very next yearanother new category of computers became commercially available - supercomputers
cray 1 1976
Cray 1 - 1976
  • The first commercial supercomputer
  • Supercomputers: state-of-the-art machines designed to perform calculations as fast as the current technology allows
  • Used to solve extremely complex tasks: weather prediction, simulation of atomic explosions; aircraft design; movie animation
  • Cray 1 could do 167 million ops/sec
    • Current state-of the-art: trillions (1012) of ops/sec
Five years later, in 1981, the most important event ion the history of computing took place
  • Computers finally became popular
  • That achievement is credited to the IBM corp. In 1981 they introduced the IBM PC
ibm pc ms dos 1981
IBM PC & MS DOS - 1981
  • IBM PC: The tremendously popular PC; the grand-daddy of 95% of the PC’s in use today
  • MS DOS: The tremendously popular operating system that came bundled with the IBM PC
  • We’ll have some more to say about operating systems in future lectures
Three years later, Apple computer introduced a new PC that radically changed the way in which computers were operated
  • Instead of typing commands, now users could use a computer simply by moving a mouse and clicking
apple macintosh 1984
Apple Macintosh - 1984
  • The 1st popular, user-friendly PC
  • Based on the ideas first developed for the Star computer at Xerox PARC (1981)
In 1989, a key event took place that catalyzed the current, immense popularity of computing
  • That event was the invention of the World Wide Web
world wide web 1989
World Wide Web -1989
  • Tim Berners Lee – British physicist at the European Center for Nuclear Energy Research (CERN) in Geneva
  • The greatest collection of information ever put together by the humankind
  • We’ll discuss this topic in much more detail during the next lecture
In 1997, computing achieved a goal that some had though to be impossible, unachievable
  • The best human chess player lost to the best computer chess playing program
deep blue vs kasparov 1997
Deep Blue -vs- Kasparov - 1997

It could analyze up to 300 billion chess moves in three minutes

Deep Blue, a supercomputer designed by IBM, beat Gary Kasparov, the world chess championThat computer was exceptionally fast, did not get tired or bored

It just kept on analyzing the situation and kept on searching until it found the perfect move from its list of possible moves

Until now we have looked at quite a few events in the history of computing.
  • Let’s now now look at the current status
  • A good representative of the current state-of-the-art is the phone-computer hybrid that anyone can buy these days
mobile phone computer
Mobile Phone-Computer
  • A small computer, no bigger than the hand set of an ordinary desktop or wall mounted phone
  • Can do whatever an Internet-capable computer can (albeit with a very small display and keyboard) plus can function as a regular phone
  • First consumer device formed by the fusion of computing and wireless telecommunication
what is he next major milestone 1
What is he next major milestone? (1)
  • Mechanical computing
  • Electro-mechanical
  • Vacuum tube
  • Transistor

(the current state-of the-art)

  • Quantum computing ????

Quantum Computing is based on the ideas present in the field of QUANTUM MECHANICS:the branch of physics that describes the activity of subatomic particles, i.e. the particles that make up atoms

what is he next major milestone 2
What is he next major milestone? (2)
  • Quantum computers may one day be millions of times more efficient than the current state-of-the-art computers
  • They take advantage of the laws that govern the behavior of subatomic particles
what is he next major milestone 3
What is he next major milestone? (3)
  • These laws allow quantum computers to examine all possible answers to a question, simultaneously
  • For example, if you want to find the largest from a list of four numbers:
    • The current, conventional computers require on average 2 to 3 steps to get to the answer
    • Whereas, the quantum computer may be able to do that in a single step
for further info
For further info …

Read the following article that is available on the Web:

Quantum Computing with Molecules

by Neil Gershenfeld and Isaac L. Chuang



What have we learnt today?We have learnt about some of the important milestones on the journey that started from the Analytical Engine and so far has taken us to the tiny, portable computer-telephone of todayWe also saw how computing transitioned from mechanical to electro-mechanical to tube to transistor technology and now is poised to take a breathtaking twist towards quantum computing

focus of the next lecture
Focus of the Next Lecture
  • Become familiar with one of the most popular activities on computers – the World Wide Web
  • Become familiar with the Web’s structure and how the Web works
  • Learn about its genesis, its evolution, and its future
  • About its impact on computing, society, commerce