Know your history: How did computers start?
Did you think that the computers you see right now looked like the computers used centuries ago? Well, they did not! Thanks to the great and creative minds of inventors. We now enjoy the luxury and comfort of using these wonderful machines to make work easier.
But do you know the history? How did computers start?
Blaise Pascal is usually credited for building the first digital computer in 1642. His computer added numbers entered with dials. It was used to help his father in his work as a tax collector. In 1672, Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz was considered weird then. After a little more than a century later, Charles Xavier Thomas (not professor wheelchair of X-men) created the first successful mechanical calculator. It could add, subtract, multiply, and divide. Not satisfied with what Thomas’ calculator could do, Charles Babbage, a mathematics professor, (also known as “The Father of Computer” today) came up with the idea of an automatic mechanical calculating machine in 1812 which was powered by steam. (Yep! Steam.) He called this the difference engine that could perform long calculations.
However, after working on it for 10 years, he lost interest in it. Because he thought he had a better idea. What Babbage had in mind was more advanced in nature. It would be a machine which could execute commands in any order. It could also store digits (a memory of 1,000 digits). Unfortunately, Babbage’s computer never got to be finished. Many thought that the machine was not really needed during those times.
Interest in computers resumed in the 1980’s…
When Herman Hollerith and James Powers developed devices that could read stored information on punched cards. Because of this, reading errors were reduced. Also, workflow increased and more data would be accessed more easily.
Through the years, advancement in the computer field flourished. In commercially available machines in the 1960’s, memory capacities increased from 8,000 words to 64,000 words with access times of two to three milliseconds. These machines were very expensive to even rent or purchase. They were particularly expensive to operate. Such computers were mostly found in large computer centres. Those computers were operated by the government, industry, and private laboratories filled with programmers and support personnels.
The computers then were very big ─ like that of huge closets.
In the 1980’s, companies introduced computers that used microchips for storing electronic data. Due to strong competition, by the late 1980’s, some personal computers would process about 4, 000, 000 instructions per second.
The computer field continues to grow. Computer networking, electronic mail, and electronic publishing are just a few of the applications that have grown in recent years. Advances in technologies continue to produce cheaper, smaller, and more powerful computers. Which can be seen in almost everywhere, home, offices, and schools.
Thank you to the brilliant masterminds!