The word computer like the device for which this term was devices has undergone vast changes. In the 1940s the term basically meant a device that was used to perform complex mathematical tasks. In those days, the device was a humongous gadget fitted with vacuum tubes and installed with programs that took weeks to configure and re-configure. The 1940s -1950s computer better known as the first generation devices were powered by vacuum tubes and stored data in magnetic drums and memory. These creative inventions by John Eckert and John Mauchly were also known as ENIAC (Electric enumerator Integrator and computer. They were fitted with thousands of vacuum tubes, resistors, relays and capacitors (novel electrical inventions of their time). ENIAC, it is believed, occupied approximately 20,000 feet and weighed over 15 tons. Being the first ever computer device, ENIAC has numerous start-up challenges. It emitted a lot of heat, consumed lots of power and took up expansive space.
In 1956 second generation computers, an improvement from ENIAC was introduced. These were smaller and faster gadgets. Vacuum tubes were replaced by transistors, and this proved a major change as the computers were faster, consumed less power and were more reliable.
In addition, they were cheaper to manufacture and way smaller in size. It is during this generation of computing that the first computing languages, COBOL and FORTRAN were introduced. Even though there was the considerable reduction of heat emissions, the devices experienced constant damages of their sensitive parts due to heat.
[qodef_blockquote text=”In 1964 Second generation computers were invented. With this generation, one could probably notice the modern computers taking some semblance”][vc_empty_space height=”30px”]
There was the introduction of integrated electric circuits to replace transistors, in the developing semi-conductor technological advances. These changes meant great improvements in size, speed, and efficiency. It subsequently allowed for mass production of computers meaning they were more affordable. This generation consumed far less energy and cost a lot less to BT as such were available for the average person. The previous version was mostly available for science and engineering technology institutes and enthusiasts.
Third generation computers lasted up to the too early 70s. When microprocessors which allowed for extremely fast compared to earlier generations were invented – computers became commonplace devices in offices.
Microprocessors are basically thousands of integrated circuits, on a silicon tab measuring approx. 1/4 of an inch. This chip housed the Central Processing Unit (CPU) as well as other input and output devices.
A decade later development of computer networks (thus Internet) came into place. It was also during this time that IBM introduced computers meant for home use. A few years later Apple would introduce to the market their own brand Macintosh (today’s Mac).
Soon after the world of computing would see other additional inventions like the Visual Display Units (VDUs) and detachable keyboards. VDUs were slight modifications from a TV screen with the capacity to display tasks being processed by the central processing unit.
The use of microprocessors ushered in an era of vast changes in technology that saw computers reduce in size, weight; while improving speed and capabilities. Software developers also came to the fore as Bill Gates and his generation of software scientists introduced Microsoft series of computer programs.
Today’s computer has since transformed into a device that serves multiple functions beyond basic scientific calculations. Computer technology has moved to the era of wireless connectivity and virtual devices, responsive and interactive display screens. Computer programming languages have also adapted to these changes, today we have simpler but more effective languages.
It is envisioned that the world of computing is moving towards a more robotic future where computer devices are expected to react and respond to human behavioral. For example, today we have computer languages designed to respond to heat, thumbprint patterns as well as body imaging.
Today’s computers are about communication more than anything else. It is envisioned that computer devices will take over basic human chores are the world continues to move into a more paperless and virtual world.