The history of computer - myoddPc.com

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The history of computer

The early computers

The history of computer dates back a lot longer than the 1900s, in fact computers have been around for over 5000 years.
In ancient time a "computer", (or "computor") was a person who performed numerical calculations under the direction of a mathematician.
But it became soon obvious that many operations could be automated. This gave rise to many devices to help them "compute".
Some of the better known are the Abacus or the Antikythera mechanism.
The presence of such devices is recorded as far back as 2400BC, (although some scientist claim that they were used a lot earlier).

Toward the end of the middle ages devices were used, not for calculations, but rather for commercial reason. Those early computers used clockwork technology, but they could be "programmed" using punch cards.
Around 1725 Basile Bouchon used perforated paper in a loom to establish the pattern to be reproduced on cloth. This ensured that the pattern was always the same and hardly had any human errors. This idea inspired his co-worker Jean-Baptiste Falcon, in 1726, and he quickly improved on his design by using perforated paper cards attached to one another, this simple adaptation made it easier to change the program quickly.
Later, in 1801, Joseph Jacquard (1752 - 1834), used the punch card idea to automate more devices with great success.

As it turns out, punch cards would be used until the late 1970.

The First computers?

In the history of computers it is a bit difficult to pinpoint when the first computer was developed. But if one of the founding fathers would have to be Charles Babbage
Charles Babbage's. (1792-1871), was ahead of his time, and using the punch card idea he developed the first computing devices that would be used for scientific purposes. He invented the Charles Babbage's Difference Engine, which he begun in 1823 but never completed. Later he started work on the Analytical Engine. It was designed in 1842, but unfortunately it also was only partially completed by Babbage. Later those machines were proved to, not only work, but also be ahead of his own time. Babbage was also credited with inventing computing concepts such as conditional branches, iterative loops and index variables.
Ada Lovelace (1815-1852), was a colleague of Babbage and founder of scientific computing.

Many people improved on the Babbage inventions, George Scheutz along with his son, Edvard Scheutz, began work on a smaller version and by 1853 they had constructed a machine that could process 15-digit numbers and calculate fourth-order differences.

On of the first notable commercial use, (and success), of computers was the US Census Bureau, which used punch-card equipment designed by Herman Hollerith to tabulate data for the 1890 census.
To compensate for the cyclical nature of the Census Bureau's demand for his machines, Hollerith founded the Tabulating Machine Company (1896), which was one of three companies that merged to form IBM in 1911.

Later, Claude Shannon (1916- 2001) first suggested the use of digital electronics in computers and in 1937 and J.V.Atanasoff built the first electronic computer that could solve 29 simultaneous equations with 29 unknowns. But this device was not programmable
During those trouble times, computers evolved at a rapid rate. But because of restrictions many projects remained secret until much later and notable example is the British military "Colossus" developed in 1943 by Alan Turing and his team.

Stored program architecture

In the late 1940 the US army commissioned John V. Mauchly to develop a device to compute ballistics during World War II. As it turned out the machine was only ready in 1945, but the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, proved to be a turning point in computer history.
ENIAC proved to be a very efficient machine but not a very easy one to operate. Any changes would sometime require the device itself to be re-programmed. The engineers were all too aware of this obvious problem and they developed "stored program architecture".
In 1940, in Manchester, the Small-Scale Experimental Machine was the first developed using the new "stored program architecture", but it was not a commercial success.
John von Neumann, (a consultant to the ENIAC), Mauchly and his team developed EDVAC, this new project used stored program.
Eckert and Mauchly later developed what was arguably the first commercially successful computer, the UNIVAC.

Software technology during this period was very primitive. The first programs were written out in machine code, i.e. programmers directly wrote down the numbers that corresponded to the instructions they wanted to store in memory. By the 1950s programmers were using a symbolic notation, known as assembly language, then hand-translating the symbolic notation into machine code. Later programs known as assemblers performed the translation task.
Those programs would then be used by the machines without the need to re-configure the machine itself.

The Transistor era, the end of the inventor.

Late 1950 saw the end of valve driven computers. Transistor based computers were used because they were smaller, cheaper, faster and a lot more reliable.
Corporations, rather than inventors, were now producing the new computers.

Now the basis of computers was in place, with transistors the computers were faster and with Stored program architecture you could use the computer for almost anything.
New high level programs soon arrived, FORTRAN (1956), ALGOL (1958), and COBOL (1959), Cambridge and the University of London cooperated in the development of CPL (Combined Programming Language, 1963). Martin Richards of Cambridge developed a subset of CPL called BCPL (Basic Computer Programming Language, 1967).

In 1969, the CDC 7600 was released, it could perform 10 million floating point operations per second (10 Mflops).
In 1970 Ken Thompson of Bell Labs developed yet another simplification of CPL called simply B, in connection with an early implementation of the UNIX operating system. Thompson and Dennis Ritchie developed a new language "C".
C programming language and the UNIX, (written in C), operating system, both at Bell Labs. In 1972.

The network years.

From 1985 onward the race was on to put as many transistors as possible on one computer. Each one of them could do a simple operation. But apart from been faster and been able to perform more operations the computer has not evolved much.
The concept of parallel processing is more widely used from the 1990s.
In the area of computer networking, both wide area network (WAN) and local area network (LAN) technology developed at a rapid pace

FlipSide case for iPhone packs stealthy game controls, plays on solar power (video)


2012 - 12 - 23

FlipSide case for iPhone packs stealthy game controls, plays on solar power video

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Source: Flipside (Kickstarter)



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YouTube Player API for Android opens for all, brings seamless app integration video

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Via: Android Central

Source: YouTube API blog



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Asteroid 2011 AG5 Will Miss Earth In 2040


2012 - 12 - 23

dryriver writes with a report from CNN that the asteroid known as 2011 AG5 will not hit Earth in 2040 as early calculations had led some to fear when it was first spotted last year. "To narrow down the asteroid's future course, NASA put out a call for more observation. Astronomers from the University of Hawaii at Manoa took up the task and managed to observe the asteroid over several days in October. 'An analysis of the new data conducted by NASA's Near-Earth Object Program Office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, shows that the risk of collision in 2040 has been eliminated,' NASA declared Friday."

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