Computers: Past, Present and Future

Topics: Computer, Computer data storage, Konrad Zuse Pages: 5 (1748 words) Published: October 2, 2008
I have been using computers for as long as I can remember, whether it is for entertainment use or work use, computers are part of our everyday lives. They have an effect on almost everything you do. When you buy groceries at a supermarket, a computer is uesed with laser and barcode technology to scan the price of each item and present a total. Barcoding items (clothes, food and books ) requires a computer to generate the barcode labels and maintain the inventory. Most televison advertisiments and many films use graphics produced by a computer. In hospitals, bedide terminals connected to the hospital's main computer allow doctors to typw in orders for blood tests and to schedule operations. Banks use computers to lool after their customers' money. In libraries and bookshops, computers can help to find the book you want as quikly as possible. This has not always been the case though; computers did not always exist, and are continuously changing to this day. I think one group said it best,” Companies promote it for their employees. Parents demand it for their children. Those who have it believe they have a competitive edge. Those who don't have it seek it out. "It" is a computer. We are rapidly becoming a "computer society" Until recently computers were found only in environmentally controlled rooms behind locked doors. Only computer professionals dared enter these secured premises. In contrast today computers are found in millions of homes and just about every office. In fact there is a computer for one in every eight people in the world. Eventually all of us will have at least one computer and will use it every day for work and leisure.”


Role of Computers in the Past

“There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home.” –Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977

First Generation
Almost everything invented or created, has one specific person who has been credited with their invention or creation, but this is not so with the computer. Many people throughout history have added their part to the computer. This could include programs to help the computer run better or faster, some created different kinds of computers, but either way they contributed to the computer we know today. The first “computer” was developed in 1936 by Konrad Zuse and was named Z1. It was not until the year 1942 that people actually started seeing the possible profit of computers. From then on, the uses of computers were being studied immensely, and inventors started to add programs and parts to improve what was already created. IBM was introduced in 1953, and forever changed the face of computers. This was not the most important breakthrough to come out though, in 1958 the chip or integrated circuit was created. Without this piece, the computer we know today would not be possible! Theses were all created in the first generation of computers; know as the vacuum tube years (1946-1958). First generation computers were characterized by the fact that operating instructions were made-to-order for the specific task for which the computer was to be used. Each computer had a different binary-coded program called a machine language that told it how to operate. This made the computer difficult to program and limited its versatility and speed. Other distinctive features of first generation computers were the use of the above mentioned vacuum tubes.

Second Generation
The second generation which is mainly characterized by the change from vacuum tubes to transistor technology also included many more pieces of the computer; including the original internet ARPA net which provided the base for the internet we know today, the floppy disk in 1959 allowing people to transfer their data to another unconnected computer and the mouse in 1964. Due to the creation of the transistor technology, we were able to shrink down the size of our computers and...
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