The History Of Computers Essay

772 words - 3 pages


I will present a brief history of the computer since it is prominent in society. 

The twentieth century was a time of invention and innovation. More specifically, there were major advances in computer technology as electricity developed. The invention of the computer originated from the reliance on electrical based machines that stemmed from a dependence upon mechanical devices. The stepping stones for computers originated in the early 1900’s, but computer advancement occurred most prominently from the 1930’s to the 1950’s. In the late 1930’s, using Alan Turing’s Information Theory, the first computer was built. Yet, as more applications of new scientific knowledge were needed to solve problems in the military and scientific communities, computer research increased. Engineers, scientists, and mathematicians were major influences upon the technological industry and its development of computers. These early computers needed teams of specialists in order for the devices to even function. MIT, Harvard, and University of Pennsylvania put together teams of these experts, and although expensive, the United States’ government funded the majority of the support throughout the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. These specialists adapted new technologies applying scientific knowledge to gradually modify and enhance these machines (Cortada 15). It was challenging for the specialists, since “nothing was inevitable; the computer was not a historical phenomenon waiting to happen (14). 

As time progressed, new materials and advanced ways to package components were introduced in order to lower manufacturing costs. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, the older machines were replaced by new ones with a greater function per unit cost (Cortada 12). It was in 1960 and 1961, however, that the “computer had won its place” (Cortada 15). At this time, there were an estimated six thousand operational computers. Compared to adding machines, it is a small number, but this minute acceptance grew during the 1960’s. The computer was gradually becoming more cost effective than older devices, it was easier and more reliable than manual methods, and it had sufficient capacity. In addition, it was gaining international prevalence. Not only were the United States and England making increases in computer technology, but Germany, France, Italy, and Japan were also making contributions, although on a lesser level. 

Acceptance was also growing since each new advancement was based upon a previous invention; the manufacturing of computers was a...

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