The History Of Computers (1946 1992) Essay

1399 words - 6 pages

The first electronic digital computer was called ENIAC (Electronic Numerator Integrator Analyzer and Computer), and was invented at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946. Its was constructed for military purposes. Weighing around 27 tons and was the size of a room (was about 9m by 17m). The ENIAC made loud noises, it crackled and buzzed when it was performing an equation, it also let out an incredible amount of heat since it had 17,000 vacuum tubes. Before this machine was invented, a room full of mathematicians were required to calculate the equations. This "computer" could execute 38 divisions and 357 multiplications in less than a second. Although, today a calculator has more power and memory that the ENIAC.In 1951, Real-Time Computing was achieved with the "Whirlwind". It was first built for flight simulation. But this machine could perform many tasks, which included air-traffic control, processed data, which was all presented on a screen, and could be subsequently directed by using a light gun. Development of the Whirlwind computer began in 1945, and the system was first demonstrated on April 20th, 1951. The Whirlwind was also the first computer to use Core Memory for RAM, a storage method that grew until the 1970's. Core memory permanently stores binary data on small donut shaped magnets strung together by a wire grid. The Whirlwind computer was ultimately used by the U.S. Air Force for use in the SAGE (Semi-Automatic Ground Environment) air defense system, which eventually began operations in 1958 with more advanced display capabilities. The last of the Whirlwind-based SAGE computers was shut down in 1983, giving the Whirlwind a record for practical operational endurance among digital computers.In 1951, the first computer built for business use was invented, called LEO. This machine calculated taxes, payrolls. The LEO could compute employee paychecks three hundred times faster than a human clerk.In 1960, the Dataphone was the first commercially designed modem. It was specifically constructed for converting digital computer data to analog signals for transmission across Bell's system. And later that year the smallest computer of its time was invented.Finally in 1964, a computer called 6600 Supercomputer was invented by a company name Control Data Corporation's (CDC). At this time it was the fastest computer in the world. It was even three times faster than its competitor, IBM. Input to the computer was done by punch cards or seven-channel digital magnetic tape. Output was available from two line printers, a card punch, a photographic plotter, and standard magnetic tape. An interactive display console allowed users to view graphical results as data were being processed. It retained its speed until it was beaten by a successor from the same company, the CDC 7600."Shakey" was the first mobile robot to think about its actions. He was built by the Stanford Research Institute. He was named Shakey since he wobbled when he moved. "Shakey" had a TV...

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