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History Of Computers Throughout Time Essay

2434 words - 10 pages

Every advancement in computers and technology in general, has come from improvements in existing designs and the new ideas presented by computer scientists.
When the word computer is mentioned, many words come to people’s minds. Among these are laptop, pc, desktop, windows, and maybe even cellphones. Before recent times however, a computer was actually a job for “one who calculates”, or computes (dictionary). We now tend to think of computers as an object, not a person. The word computer is now used to describe a device, usually electronic, that processes data according to a set of instructions (dictionary). When most people think of computers, they think of this definition of a computer. With this definition, many objects can be considered a computer such as a calculator or a phone. A definition for computer that describes a desktop or a laptop, is a programmable machine that performs high-speed processing of numbers, as well as of text, graphics, symbols, and sound. All computers contain a central processing unit that interprets and executes instructions; input devices, such as a keyboard and a mouse, through which data and commands enter the computer; memory that enables the computer to store programs and data; and output devices, such as printers and display screens, that show the results after the computer has processed data (dictionary). This definition of computer describes the machine that this paper was typed on, the laptop you check your email on, and the desktop you update your Facebook status on. However, all these updates and advances to computers did not come up over night, not even in the last century.
In fact, considering the fact that the term computer used to describe a person who calculates, the history of the computer can be traced back to the first attempts at adding numbers, and thats exactly where the history of the computer begins. The first invention on the timeline of the history of the computer is not actually an instrument, but rather a concept (A Brief Timeline in the History of Computers). The concept that originated millions of years ago, the concept that life could be improved by remembering and recalling things and taking a sequence of things and improving upon it and inventing a better sequence (ibid). The purpose of a computer is to remember and recall items as requested, and every advancement in the history of technology has been from taking an idea and improving upon it. These two concepts that stumbled upon millions of years ago continue to fuel every advancement in the field of technology.
The first actual device used to assist humans in counting and calculating is the abacus (ibid). The abacus is considered to be the first handheld computer (ibid). The abacus was a handheld device invented to aid people in counting large numbers (A Brief History of the Abacus). The abacus that people know today was reported being used in China in the 13th century. (ibid) It is important to note that the abacus...

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