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History of Computers

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BC: The End... Or is it?

FC: History of Computers

1: History of Computers Created by Angelina Goodson

2: 1939 | David Packard and Bill Hewlett founded Hewlett-Packard in a Palo Alto, California garage. Their first product was the HP 200A Audio Oscillator, which rapidly became a popular piece of test equipment for engineers. Walt Disney Pictures ordered eight of the 200B model to use as sound effects generators for the 1940 movie “Fantasia.”

3: The Complex Number Calculator (CNC) is completed. In 1939, Bell Telephone Laboratories completed this calculator, designed by researcher George Stibitz. In 1940, Stibitz demonstrated the CNC at an American Mathematical Society conference held at Dartmouth College. Stibitz stunned the group by performing calculations remotely on the CNC (located in New York City) using a Teletype connected via special telephone lines. This is considered to be the first demonstration of remote access computing. | 1940

4: Konrad Zuse finishes the Z3 computer. | 1941

5: 1942 | The Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) is completed. It was designed and built by professor John Vincent Atanasoff and graduate student Cliff Berry between 1939 and 1942.

6: Harvard Mark-1 is completed. Conceived by Harvard professor Howard Aiken, and designed and built by IBM, the Harvard Mark-1 was a room-sized, relay-based calculator. | 1944 | The machine had a fifty-foot long camshaft that synchronized the machine's thousands of component parts. The Mark-1 was used to produce mathematical tables but was soon superseded by stored program computers.

7: 1946 | In February, the public got its first glimpse of the ENIAC, a machine built by John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert that improved by 1,000 times on the speed of its contemporaries. Start of project:1943 Completed:1946 Programmed:plug board and switches Speed:5,000 operations per second Input/output:cards, lights, switches, plugs Floor space:1,000 square feet Project leaders:John Mauchly and J. Presper Eckert.

8: 1948 | IBMs Selective Sequence Electronic Calculator computed scientific data in public display near the companys Manhattan headquarters. Before its decommissioning in 1952, the SSEC produced the moon-position tables used for plotting the course of the 1969 Apollo flight to the moon. Speed:50 multiplications per second Input/output:cards, punched tape Memory type:punched tape, vacuum tubes, relays Technology:20,000 relays, 12,500 vacuum tubes Floor space:25 feet by 40 feet Project leader:Wallace Eckert

9: Engineering Research Associates of Minneapolis built the ERA 1101, the first commercially produced computer; the companys first customer was the U.S. Navy. It held 1 million bits on its magnetic drum, the earliest magnetic storage devices. Drums registered information as magnetic pulses in tracks around a metal cylinder. Read/write heads both recorded and recovered the data. Drums eventually stored as many as 4,000 words and retrieved any one of them in as little as five-thousandths of a second. | 1950

10: Englands first commercial computer, the Lyons Electronic Office, solved clerical problems. The president of Lyons Tea Co. had the computer, modeled after the EDSAC, built to solve the problem of daily scheduling production and delivery of cakes to the Lyons tea shops. After the success of the first LEO, Lyons went into business manufacturing computers to meet the growing need for data processing systems. | 1951

11: The UNIVAC I delivered to the U.S. Census Bureau was the first commercial computer to attract widespread public attention. Although manufactured by Remington Rand, the machine often was mistakenly referred to as the "IBM UNIVAC." Remington Rand eventually sold 46 machines at more than $1 million each.F.O.B. factory $750,000 plus $185,000 for a high speed printer. Speed:1,905 operations per second Input/output:magnetic tape, unityper, printer Memory size:1,000 12-digit words in delay lines Memory type:delay lines, magnetic tape Technology:serial vacuum tubes, delay lines, magnetic tape Floor space:943 cubic feet Cost:F.O.B. factory $750,000 plus $185,000 for a high speed printer Project leaders:J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly

12: John von Neumanns IAS computer became operational at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, N.J. Contract obliged the builders to share their designs with other research institutes. This resulted in a number of clones: the MANIAC at Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory, the ILLIAC at the University of Illinois, the Johnniac at Rand Corp., the SILLIAC in Australia, and others. | 1952 | Grace Hopper completes the A-0 Compiler. In 1952, mathematician Grace Hopper completed what is considered to be the first compiler, a program that allows a computer user to use English-like words instead of numbers.

13: Felker and Harris program TRADIC, AT&T Bell Laboratories announced the first fully transistorized computer, TRADIC. It contained nearly 800 transistors instead of vacuum tubes. Transistors — completely cold, highly efficient amplifying devices invented at Bell Labs — enabled the machine to operate on fewer than 100 watts, or one-twentieth the power required by comparable vacuum tube computers. | 1955

14: IBMs 7000 series mainframes were the company's first transistorized computers. At the top of the line of computers — all of which emerged significantly faster and more dependable than vacuum tube machines — sat the 7030, also known as the "Stretch." Nine of the computers, which featured a 64-bit word and other innovations, were sold to national laboratories and other scientific users. L. R. Johnson first used the term "architecture" in describing the Stretch. | 1959

15: MITs Servomechanisms Laboratory demonstrated computer-assisted manufacturing. The schools Automatically Programmed Tools project created a language, APT, used to instruct milling machine operations. At the demonstration, the machine produced an ashtray for each attendee.

16: IBM announced the System/360, a family of six mutually compatible computers and 40 peripherals that could work together. The initial investment of $5 billion was quickly returned as orders for the system climbed to 1,000 per month within two years. At the time IBM released the System/360, the company was making a transition from discrete transistors to integrated circuits, and its major source of revenue moved from punched-card equipment to electronic computer systems. | 1964 | CDCs 6600 supercomputer, designed by Seymour Cray, performed up to 3 million instructions per second — a processing speed three times faster than that of its closest competitor, the IBM Stretch. The 6600 retained the distinction of being the fastest computer in the world until surpassed by its successor, the CDC 7600, in 1968. Part of the speed came from the computers design, which had 10 small computers, known as peripheral processors, funneling data to a large central processing unit.

17: Xerox opens Palo Alto Research Center (PARC). In 1970, Xerox Corporation hired Dr. George Pake to lead a new research center in Palo Alto, California. PARC attracted some of the United States’ top computer scientists, and produced many groundbreaking inventions that transformed computing—most notably the personal computer graphical user interface, Ethernet, the laser printer, and object-oriented programming. Xerox was unable to market the inventions from PARC but others did, including Steve Jobs (Apple), Bob Metcalfe (3Com), as well as Charles Geschke and John Warnock (Adobe) | SRI Internationals Shakey became the first mobile robot controlled by artificial intelligence. Equipped with sensing devices and driven by a problem-solving program called STRIPS, the robot found its way around the halls of SRI by applying information about its environment to a route. Shakey used a TV camera, laser range finder, and bump sensors to collect data, which it then transmitted to a DEC PDP-10 and PDP-15. The computer radioed back commands to Shakey — who then moved at a speed of 2 meters per hour. | 1970

18: The January edition of Popular Electronics featured the Altair 8800 computer kit, based on Intels 8080 microprocessor, on its cover. Within weeks of the computers debut, customers inundated the manufacturing company, MITS, with orders. Bill Gates and Paul Allen licensed BASIC as the software language for the Altair. Ed Roberts invented the 8800 — which sold for $297, or $395 with a case — and coined the term "personal computer." The machine came with 256 bytes of memory (expandable to 64K) and an open 100-line bus structure that evolved into the S-100 standard. In 1977, MITS sold out to Pertec, which continued producing Altairs through 1978. | 1975 | The visual display module (VDM) prototype, designed in 1975 by Lee Felsenstein, marked the first implementation of a memory-mapped alphanumeric video display for personal computers. Introduced at the Altair Convention in Albuquerque in March 1976, the visual display module allowed use of personal computers for interactive games. | Tandem computers tailored its Tandem-16, the first fault-tolerant computer, for online transaction processing. The banking industry rushed to adopt the machine, built to run during repair or expansion.

19: Atari introduces the Model 400 and 800 Computer. Shortly after delivery of the Atari VCS game console, Atari designed two microcomputers with game capabilities: the Model 400 and Model 800. The two machines were built with the idea that the 400 would serve primarily as a game console while the 800 would be more of a home computer. Both sold well, though they had technical and marketing problems, and faced strong competition from the Apple II, Commodore PET, and TRS-80 computers. | 1979

20: Apple Computer launched the Macintosh, the first successful mouse-driven computer with a graphic user interface, with a single $1.5 million commercial during the 1984 Super Bowl. Based on the Motorola 68000 microprocessor, the Macintosh included many of the Lisas features at a much more affordable price: $2,500. | 1984 | Apples commercial played on the theme of George Orwells "1984" and featured the destruction of Big Brother with the power of personal computing found in a Macintosh. Applications that came as part of the package included MacPaint, which made use of the mouse, and MacWrite, which demonstrated WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) word processing.

21: IBM released its PC Jr. and PC-AT. The PC Jr. failed, but the PC-AT, several times faster than original PC and based on the Intel 80286 chip, claimed success with its notable increases in performance and storage capacity, all for about $4,000. It also included more RAM and accommodated high-density 1.2-megabyte 5 1/4-inch floppy disks.

22: Apple cofounder Steve Jobs, who left Apple to form his own company, unveiled the NeXT. The computer he created failed but was recognized as an important innovation. At a base price of $6,500, the NeXT ran too slowly to be popular. | 1988 | The significance of the NeXT rested in its place as the first personal computer to incorporate a drive for an optical storage disk, a built-in digital signal processor that allowed voice recognition, and object-oriented languages to simplify programming. The NeXT offered Motorola 68030 microprocessors, 8 megabytes of RAM, and a 256-megabyte read/write optical disk storage.

23: Pixars "Tin Toy" became the first computer-animated film to win an Academy Award, taking the Oscar for best animated short film. A wind-up toy first encountering a boisterous baby narrated "Tin Toy." To illustrate the babys facial expressions, programmers defined more than 40 facial muscles on the computer controlled by the animator. | Founded in 1986, one of Pixars primary projects involved a renderer, called Renderman, the standard for describing 3-D scenes. Renderman describes objects, light sources, cameras, atmospheric effects, and other information so that a scene can be rendered on a variety of systems. The company continued on to other successes, including 1995s "Toy Story," the first full-length feature film created entirely by computer animation.

24: Netscape Communications Corporation is founded. Netscape was originally founded as Mosaic Communications Corporation in April of 1994 by Marc Andreessen, Jim Clark and others. Its name was soon changed to Netscape and it delivered its first browser in October of 1994. On the day of Netscape's initial public offering in August of 1995, it's share price went from $28 to $54 in the first few minutes of trading, valuing the company at $2 billion. Netscape hired many of Silicon Valley's programmers to provide new features and products and began the Internet boom of the 1990s. | 1994

25: Yahoo is founded. Founded by Stanford graduate students Jerry Yang and David Filo, Yahoo started out as "Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web" before being renamed. Yahoo originally resided on two machines, Akebono and Konishiki, both named after famous Sumo wrestlers. Yahoo would quickly expand to become one of the Internet's most popular search engines.

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  • Title: History of Computers
  • A history of the invention of computers.
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  • Published: almost 6 years ago