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We are living in the computer age today and most of our day to day activities cannot be accomplished without using computers.
ENIAC was the world first successful electronic computer which was develops by the two scientists namely J. P. Eckert and J. W. Mauchy. It was the beginning of first generation computer. The full form of ENIAC is “Electronic Numeric Integrated And Calculator” ENIAC was a very huge and big computer and its weight was 30 tones. It could store only limited or small amount of information. Initially in the first generation computer the concept of vacuum tubes was used. A vacuum tube was such an electronic component which had very less work efficiency and so it could not work properly and it required a large cooling system.
One problem in tracing the history is the problem of differentiating simpler computing and information aids from computers, which have evolved as a result of series of improvement in such equipments. There is no clear dividing line between a computer and just a calculator or calculating device. One definition of computer is a calculating device that is able to store in its memory data used for computation as well as the instructions for computing operation to be carried. Many experts consider Mark I built in 1944 as the first real computer having such capabilities. However it is possible to trace back events over last 2500 years back leading to its development, with the introduction of first physical aid for computing in the form of abacus.
Another significant development in computing technology was development of Napier bones developed by John Napier in 1617, which was the first version of slide rules that were commonly used till 1970’s.
A significant milestone in development of computing more sophisticated calculating equipment was design of a gear driven calculating machine by Leonardo de Vinci (1452 - 1519). However actual building of computing machine took about a century and half when a gear driven calculating machine was developed by Schicard in 1623 and by Paskal in 1642. A few years later Paskal also built a computing machine using fluted drums instead of computers.
Though not really a computing machine, weaving machine developed by Jaquard in 1801 using punched card as a means of controlling operation of to the machine to produce required weave designed, was a major development in history of design of computers. This principle of punched cards to represent designs was subsequently use in computing machines and computers as a medium to store data.
Another important land mark in development of computers is a steam driven calculating machine built by Charles Babbage in 1822. Though this machine never worked, it made a big contribution in creating interest in design of computers and in pointing way to new technologies for building computers.
The first workable adding and listing machine was patented by William Steward Burrows in 1885. Subsequently many different types of mechanical, electrical and electronic calculators were developed, manufactured and used. Sophisticated electronic calculators are a part of such developments that are used even now.
A computing device that gave a big boost to the computing technology and its use was Hollerith Desk developed and used for computing the results of US census o5 1890, which was subsequently manufactured and sold by a company that later became later became IBM.
Mark I was a completely mechanical equipment. The first electronic computer was developed was ENIAC built between 1943 and 1945. Following this EDVAC was built which was the, first computer with stored program.
Success of ENIAC many prompted development of many other computes with similar sounding names such as ILLIAC, JHONNIAC and MANIAC by different people. These were all one-off type computers.
The first computer with stored programs sold commercially was UNIVAC manufactured in 1950's. This computer used magnetic tape for data input. Perhaps it will be right to say that UNIVAC possessed all the basic characteristics of a modern computer. All developments subsequent to this have been in the nature of improving performance, reducing size, and reducing cost.
Part of the history of the computer cannot be told without the emergence of the personal computer. Ed Roberts, the President of a company named MITS Incorporated, oversaw a company that made calculators and dabbled in the personal computer as a "side interest." When faced with mounting debt and economic challenges, Roberts put forth an idea of The Altair 8800 as a personal computer. Originally intended for hobbyists and people with vested interests in the computer, the Altair 8800 is widely considered to be the first personal computer introduced to the market in the mid 1970s. From this unit, programmers like Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed languages for this machine to process and understand such as BASIC that would allow commands to be processed. Building off of this, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak designed a functional computer that was a more advanced of the Altair, complete with a keyboard and more processing bytes. From these two inventions, the personal computer was born, with IBM following suit about five years later.
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