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History of Computing


The II World War Years 1939 - 1945. Calculate artillery tables. ... It was based on relays (operate in milliseconds) as opposed to the use of gears. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: History of Computing

History of Computing
  • The Origins of Computing

Sources Combrink, Thomas Cortina, Fergus Toolan,
What is a Computer?
  • one who computes
  • a person employed to make calculations in an
    observatory, in surveying, etc.
  • a programmable machine that can execute a list
    of instructions in a well-defined manner

What is a modern computer
  • A machine which can execute billions of
    instructions per second.
  • Uses a stored program to execute instruction in
    a specific order to solve a problem

Modern Computers are assemblies of components
  • Six logical units of computer system
  • Input unit
  • Mouse, keyboard
  • Output unit
  • Printer, monitor, audio speakers
  • Memory unit
  • Retains input and processed information
  • Arithmetic and logic unit (ALU)
  • Performs calculations
  • Central processing unit (CPU)
  • Supervises operation of other devices
  • Secondary storage unit
  • Hard drives, floppy drives

CPU (Microprocessor Chip)
  • Brain of the computer
  • Made of Integrated Circuits (ICs), which have
    millions of tiny transistors and other components
  • Performs all calculations executes all
  • Example chips for PC
  • Intel (Celeron, Pentium)
  • AMD (K-6 and Athlon)

Whats a Giga Hertz (GHz) ?
  • A unit of measurement for CPU speed (clock speed)
  • G (giga) means 1 billion, M (mega) would be 1
  • Hz is for frequency per second
  • GHz means 1 billion clock cycles per second
  • CPUs may execute multiple operations each clock
  • So what does a 2.8 GHz CPU mean?
  • 2,800,000,000 clock cycles per second
  • Performs at least 2,800,000,000 operations per

Main Memory (RAM)
  • Stores data for programs currently running
  • Temporary
  • empty when power is turned off
  • Fast access to CPU

Whats a Giga Byte (GB)?
  • GB measures the amount of data the it can store
  • G (giga) for 1 billion
  • M (mega) for 1 million
  • Data quantities are measured in bytes
  • 1 Bit stores a single on/off piece of
  • 1 Byte 8 bits
  • 1 Kilobyte 210 (1,000 bytes)
  • 1 Megabyte 220 (1,000,000 bytes)
  • 1 Gigabyte 230 (1,000,000,000 bytes)

Hard Drive
  • Stores data and programs
  • Permanent storage (theoretically)
  • when you turn off the computer, it is not emptied

  • Connects all the components together

How did we get here?
  • In studying the history of computers, where do we
  • We could go back thousands of years
  • Mathematical developments
  • Manufacturing developments
  • Engineering innovations
  • The wheel?

What number system do you use?
  • Decimal (base-10)
  • Has been in use for thousands of years
  • Guesses
  • first China
  • then India
  • then Middle East
  • then Europe (introduced as late as 1200)

Primative Calculators
The Abbacus
Early Computational Devices
  • (Chinese) Abacus
  • Used for performing arithmetic operations

AlKhowarizmi and the algorithm
  • 12th Century Tashkent Cleric
  • Developed the concept of a written process for
    doing something
  • Published a book on the process of algorithms
  • The basis of software

Early Computational Devices
  • Napiers Bones, 1617
  • For performing multiplication division

John Napier 1550-1617
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Philosopher Forefathers of Modern Computing
  • Von Leibniz developed binary arithmetic and a
    hand cranked calculator.
  • Calculator was able to add, subtract, multiply
    and divide.
  • Blaise Pascal developed the Pascaline.
  • Desk top calculator worked lik an odometer.

Blaise Pascal
  • Pascal (1623-62) was the son of a tax collector
    and a mathematical genius. He designed the first
    mechanical calculator (Pascaline) based on gears.
    It performed addition and subtraction.

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Early Computational Devices
  • Pascaline mechanical calculator

Blaise Pascal 1623-1662
Early Computational Devices
  • Slide Calculators

William Oughtred 1574-1660
Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz
  • Leibnitz (1646-1716) was a German mathematician
    and built the first calculator to do
    multiplication and division. It was not reliable
    due to accuracy of contemporary parts.
  • He also documented the binary number system which
    is used in all modern computers.

Count to 8 in binary
  • 0001
  • 0010
  • 0011
  • 0100
  • 0101
  • 0110
  • 0111
  • 1000

Modern Computers use Binary
  • Why?
  • Much simpler circuits needed for performing

Early Computational Devices
  • Leibnizs calculating machine, 1674

Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz 1646-1716
George Boole (1815-1864)
  • Invented Boolean Algebra
  • System of logic using boolean values
  • Used to establish inequalities
  • symbolic use of lt, or gt, or ltgt
  • Used in computer switching
  • Modern use in library searches

Charles Babbage
  • Babbage (1792-1872) was a British inventor who
    designed an two important machines
  • Difference engine
  • Analytical engine
  • He saw a need to replace the human computers used
    to calculate numerical tables which were prone to
    error with a more accurate machine.

Charles Babbage
  • Difference engine
  • Designed to compute values of polynomial
    functions automatically
  • No multiplication was needed because he used the
    method of finite differences
  • He never built one
  • It was built from 1989 1991 for the London
    Science Museum

Charles Babbage Difference Engine
Charles BabbageThe Next Leap Forward1800s
Charles Babbage
  • Analytical Engine
  • Could be programmed using punch cards totally
    revolutionary idea
  • Sequential control / branching / looping
  • Turing complete

The analytical engine of Charles Babbage
Lady Ada Byron Worlds first programmer
  • Countess of Lovelace, daughter of Lord Byron.
  • One of the first women mathematicians in England
  • Documented Babbages work.
  • Wrote an account of the difference engine.
  • Wrote a program for the difference engine for
    computing Bernoulli numbers

Herman Hollerith
  • Hollerith developed an electromechanical
    punched-card tabulator to tabulate the data for
    1890 U.S. census. Data was entered on punched
    cards and could be sorted according to the census
    requirements. The machine was powered by
    electricity. He formed the Tabulating Machine
    Company which became International Business
    Machines (IBM). IBM is currently the largest
    computer manufacturer, employing in excess of
    300,000 people.

Herman Hollerith punch card tabulating machine
1890 Census
Hollerith Tables and the Census
Improved the speed of the census Reduced cost by
5 million Greater accuracy of data
collected Hollerith unemployed after the census
Konrad Zuse - First Calculator 1938
The War Years 1939-1945Two Primary Uses
  • Artillery Tables
  • Hand calculation replaced by machine calculation
  • Department of the Navy
  • Cryptologist
  • Cryptography
  • The art or process of writing in or deciphering
    secret writing
  • Bletchley House
  • The Enigma Codes U23

The British Effort
History of Computers
  • Alan Turing was a British mathematician who also
    made significant contributions to the early
    development of computing, especially to the
    theory of computation.
  • He developed an abstract theoretical model of a
    computer called a Turing machine which is used to
    capture the notion of computable i.e. what
    problems can and what problems cannot be
  • Not all problems can be solved on a computer.
  • Note A Turing machine is an abstract model and
    not a physical computer

Alan Turing misunderstood genius 1936
  • Published a paper On Computable Numbers
  • Turings machine - hypothetical computer that
    could perform any computation or logical
    operation a human could devise.

Turings Heritage
  • Code breaking was Tourings strength.
  • Colossus a computer to break the German enigma
    code - 100 Billion alternatives.
  • Ran at rate of 25,000 characters per second

The United States Effort
The II World War Years 1939 - 1945
  • Calculate artillery tables.
  • Used to break codes like the Colossus.
  • Used to model future events - Atomic and Hydrogen
  • Cmdr. Grace Hooper

Howard Aiken (1900 73)
  • Aiken, a Harvard professor, with the backing of
    IBM built the Harvard Mark I computer (51ft long)
    in 1944. It was based on relays (operate in
    milliseconds) as opposed to the use of gears. It
    required 3 seconds for a multiplication.
  • Aikens Mark 1. (1944) based on Babbages
    original design - built at IBM labs,
    electro-mechanical, weighed 5 tons. Admiral Grace
    Hopper worked as programmer on this computer, and
    coined the term 'bug' for a computer fault.

HARVARD MARK - 1, 1944
The Mark I - a dinosaur
  • 51 feet long
  • 3,304 electro mechanical switches
  • Add or subtract 23 digit numbers in 3/10 of a
  • Instructions (software) loaded by paper tape.
  • The infamous Bug

ENIAC - The Next Jump Forward - 1946
  • 1st electronic digital computer
  • Operated with vacuum tubes rather
    electro-mechanical switches
  • 1000 times faster than Mark I
  • No program storage - wired into circuitry.
  • This was still based on the decimal numbering
  • programmed by switches and cords

The Advent of the Semiconductor - 1947
  • Developed at Bell Labs by Shockley Bardeen
    Nobel Prize
  • Point Contact Transistor replaced power hungry,
    hot and short lived vacuum tubes

History of Computers
  • Von Neumann was a scientific genius and was a
    consultant on the ENIAC project. He formulated
    plans with Mauchly and Eckert for a new computer
    (EDVAC) which was to store programs as well as
  • This is called the stored program concept and Von
    Neumann is credited with it. Almost all modern
    computers are based on this idea and are referred
    to as Von Neumann machines.  
  • He also concluded that the binary system was more
    suitable for computers since switches have only
    two values. He went on to design his own computer
    at Princeton which was a general purpose machine.

First Generation Computers (1951-58)
  • These machines were used in business for
    accounting and payroll applications. Valves were
    unreliable components generating a lot of heat
    (still a problem in computers). They had very
    limited memory capacity. Magnetic drums were
    developed to store information and tapes were
    also developed for secondary storage.
  • They were initially programmed in machine
    language (binary). A major breakthrough was the
    development of assemblers and assembly language.

EDVAC - Electronic Discreet Variable Automatic
Computer 1951
  • Data stored internally on a magnetic drum
  • Random access magnetic storage device
  • First stored program computer

The 50s the Era of Advances
Second Generation (1959-64)
  • The development of the transistor revolutionised
    the development of computers. Invented at Bell
    Labs in 1948, transistors were much smaller, more
    rugged, cheaper to make and far more reliable
    than valves.
  • Core memory (non-volatile) was introduced and
    disk storage was also used. The hardware became
    smaller and more reliable, a trend that still
  • Another major feature of the second generation
    was the use of high-level programming languages
    such as Fortran and Cobol. These revolutionised
    the development of software for computers. The
    computer industry experienced explosive growth.

Technical Advances in the 60s
  • John Mccarthy coins the term Artificial
  • 1960 - Removable Disks appear
  • 1964 - BASIC - Beginners-all purpose Symbolic
    Instruction Language
  • Texas Instruments offers the first solid- state
    hand-held calculator
  • 1967 - 1st issue of Computerworld published

Third Generation (1965-71)
  • ICs (Integrated Circuits) were again smaller,
    cheaper, faster and more reliable than
    transistors. Speeds went from the microsecond to
    the nanosecond (billionth) to the picosecond
    (trillionth) range. ICs were used for main memory
    despite the disadvantage of being volatile.
    Minicomputers were developed at this time.
  • Terminals replaced punched cards for data entry
    and disk packs became popular for secondary
  • IBM introduced the idea of a compatible family of
    computers, 360 family, easing the problem of
    upgrading to a more powerful machine

Third Generation(1965-71)
  • Substantial operating systems were developed to
    manage and share the computing resources and time
    sharing operating systems were developed. These
    greatly improved the efficiency of computers.
  • Computers had by now pervaded most areas of
    business and administration.
  • The number of transistors that be fabricated on a
    chip is referred to as the scale of integration
    (SI). Early chips had SSI (small SI) of tens to a
    few hundreds. Later chips were MSI (Medium SI)
    hundreds to a few thousands,. Then came LSI chips
    (Large SI) in the thousands range.

Moores Law
  • In 1965 Gordon Moore graphed data about growth in
    memory chip performance.
  • Realized each new chip roughly twice capacity of
    predecessor, and released within 2 yrs of it gt
    computing power would rise exponentially over
    relatively brief periods of time.
  • Still fairly accurate. In 30 years, no of
    transistors on a chip has increased 20,000
    times, from 2,300 on the 4004 in 1971 to 42
    million on the Pentium IV.

The 1970s - The Microprocessor Revolution
  • A single chip containing all the elements of a
    computers central processing unit.
  • Small, integrated, relatively cheap to

The Super Computers - 1972
  • The Cray
  • Parallel processing power
  • Speed 100 million arithmetical functions per
  • Sensitive to heat - cooled with liquid nitrogen
  • Very expensive

Fourth Generation
  • VLSI allowed the equivalent of tens of thousand
    of transistors to be incorporated on a single
    chip. This led to the development of the
    microprocessor a processor on a chip.
  • Intel produced the 4004 which was followed by the
    8008,8080, 8088 and 8086 etc. Other companies
    developing microprocessors included Motorolla
    (6800, 68000), Texas Instruments and Zilog.

Fourth Generation
  • Personal computers were developed and IBM
    launched the IBM PC based on the 8088 and 8086
  • Mainframe computers have grown in power.
  • Memory chips are in the megabit range.
  • VLSI chips had enough transistors to build 20
  • Secondary storage has also evolved at fantastic
    rates with storage devices holding gigabytes
    (1000Mb 1 Gb) of data.

Fourth Generation
  • On the software side, more powerful operating
    systems are available such as Unix.
  • Applications software has become cheaper and
    easier to use.
  • Software development techniques have vastly
  • Fourth generation languages 4GLs make the
    development process much easier and faster.

Fourth Generation
  • Languages are also classified according to
    generations from machine language (1GL), assembly
    language (2GL), high level languages (3GL) to
  • Software is often developed as application
    packages. VisiCalc a spreadsheet program, was the
    pioneering application package and the original
    killer application.
  • Killer application A piece of software that is
    so useful that people will buy a computer to use
    that application.

The ALTAIR from a Voyage to Altair - Star Trek
The Birth of the Micro Computer 1975
  • Jobs and Wozniac develop the Apple II
  • Commodore PET, programs stored on a cassette
  • Tandy-Radio Shack TRS-80
  • 5 1/2 inch floppy disk becomes the standard for

Finally, The Computer as Man of the Year - 1982
Revenge of the nerds
Bill Gates
Microsoft, 1978
Steve Jobs
Steve Wozniak
Alan Turing
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