IBM Model 1401 Computers Initiate Personal Computer Age (Great Events: 1900-2001)
Article abstract: International Business Machines (IBM) Model 1401 computers, which were relatively small, simple, and inexpensive for their time, are often thought to mark the beginning of the personal computer age.
Computers: From the Beginning
Computers evolved into their modern form over a period of thousands of years as a result of humanity’s efforts to simplify the process of counting. Two counting devices that are considered to be very simple, early computers are the abacus and the slide rule. These calculating devices are representative of digital and analog computers, respectively, because an abacus counts numbers of things, while the slide rule calculates length measurements.
The first modern computer, which was designed by Charles Babbage in 1833, was never built. It was intended to perform complex calculations with a data processing/memory unit that was controlled by punched cards. In 1944, Harvard University’s Howard H. Aiken and the International Business Machines (IBM) Corporation built such a computer—the huge, punched-tape-controlled Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator, or Mark I ASCC, which could perform complex mathematical operations in seconds. During the next fifteen years, computer advances produced digital computers that used binary arithmetic for calculation, incorporated simplified components that decreased the sizes of computers, had...
(The entire section is 940 words.)
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