Sunday, November 8, 2015

History of Computers

In early days, our ancestors ( पूर्वज) were residing in caves (गुफा) and used to count using their fingers. Then they started counting their animals and possessions using stones, and this journey of counting eventually lead to computers today! Initially computers were mechanical rather than today's electronic versions.

One of the greatest thing man has created in the 20th and 21st century is computers. Computers are used everywhere today. You are reading this article probably on computer/laptop or mobile phone!!  As Computers and Information Technology has become an integral part of our life, questions based on the theory of computers are asked in many examinations. So let's start a journey of learning about computers with the ‘history of computers’.

In 1450 BC, Chinese invented the first known calculating device ABACUS. In 1600 AD,  John Napier invented counting device named ‘Napier Bones’. Then In 1642 AD, Blaise Pascal of France developed first mechanical calculator called  ‘Pascaline’. It was used to perform addition and subtraction operations. Pascaline worked with clockwise gears and levers.

In 1833 ‘Charles Babbage’ invented the first automatic calculator(also called Different Engine). ‘Charles Babbage’ is called Father of Modern Computer. A first computer program was developed by Lady Ada Augusta, who was a student of Charles Babbage. In 1880, Herman Holorith prepared a tabulating machine which was working with the help of Punch Card.
Eniac - History of computers - GyanExpress

In 1937, Howard Ekin developed the first Mechanical Computer ‘Mark-1’. First Electronic computer, named ENIAC-1, was developed in 1945 by J.P.Ekart and John Moschely. ENIAC stands for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. ENIAC-1 used Electronic Valve or Vaccum Tube as a switch.

In 1949, John Van Newman invented EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Computer). He used ‘Stored Program’ in EDVAC. The credit of using Binary Number System in computers also goes to Van Newman in EDVAC. During the same time i.e. 1949, another was invented at Cambridge university named Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC). Then in 1951, Sperry Rand Corporation of USA introduced the first commercial computer and named it UNIVAC-1.

These were some important names of historical computers with their inventors. Generally examiners don’t ask the year of invention, but they like Full Forms, Inventor names, and first computer names. So keep them in mind.
Now let's move to one more interesting topic in history,

Generations Of Computers

Main Components
Names of
(FCG-First Gen Comp)
1940 to
Electronic Valve &
Vacuum Tubes
During this period, computers were used by scientists and military purpose only. They were as large as a size of a room, consumed too much electricity, were producing too much heat and were using machine language.
1956 to 1964
IBM 700, 1401, 1620,
CDC 1604,3600, ATLAS, UNIVAC1004, ICL1901
These computers were using Solid State Devices(Transistors), so they were reduced in size, produced little heat, were less expensive and were faster. These computers started using Assembly language (FORTRAN)
1964 to
Integrated Circuits (IC)
IBM 360 & 370,
ICL 2900
Introduction of IC was bringing revolution in the computer industry. This generation started using keyboards and monitors instead of punch cards. The operating system was introduced in this generation. This generation used Comp Languages FORTRAN-II, COBOL, ALGOL & LISP.
1971 to today
ICs ( with more transistors per inch using VLSI)
This generation of computers is differentiated largely by increased processing power and smaller size. Newer operating system and software are developed and computers penetrated to almost every field of human life. This generation used Comp Languages PASCAL, SIMULA, BASIC, C, SNOBOL.
Possibly Optical fiber cable (OFC)
The concept of ‘artificial intelligence’ will be used in this generation. Japanese call this generation ‘Knowledge Processor’. This generation of computers will behave like they have a mind and intelligence.

This information will be extremely helpful in your IBPS Clerk, PO, RRB and IT officers examinations. Some basic questions from history are also asked in Railway Recruitment Board Junior/Senior section Engineer (SSE) Examinations. Students from other engineering branches will get help from our ‘Computer Awareness’ section for their RRB Exams.
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  1. So it would be wise of you to search for a recent model among the used computers and save money to spend over other things. This would be better than buying a new computer only.