The history of computing Essay

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The History of Computers

Most of the usa participate in this digital culture, whether by using an ATM card, composing and printing an office newsletter, calling a mail-order house on toll-free numbers or shopping at a mega-mall where the inventory is replenished just in time. In the Information Age of today society has become dependent on technology; every aspect of our lives have become focused on how fast and efficiently something can be accomplished. The use of computers aids our stride to becoming technologically advanced. But how did we as a society arrive at such a point? How did we end up becoming so reliant on computers? These questions will hopefully be answered by looking back at the history of computers to date.

During the WWII, Eckert and Mauchly designed and built the ENIAC, an electronic calculator that computed firing tables for the U.S Army; it established the era of computing in the United States. After the War, the drum came about as the reliable, inexpensive but slow memory device. ERA sold the drum machines, advertising their dependability, large storage capacity and their high speed capabilities.

Eckert and Mauchly in 1951 started the intrigue with computers with their UNIVAC, a computer with computing abilities; as time passed the UNIVAC became essentially important. During the 1960πs, The Case 1107 provided the main computing facility for Case Institute of Technology in Cleveland Ohio in the United States (Walker). The UNIVAC was extremely large yet quiet; its front cabinets ranged from floor to ceiling. The central processor was capable of computing simple arithmetic equations. The Case 1107 was one of the first computers on Earth to provide access from remote locations both at other locations on the campus and as far afield as Erie, Pennsylvania (Walker). A transformation in circuit technology during the 60πs, enabled the transitor to become reliable and cheap enough to serve as the basic circuit element for processors (Ceruzzi 49).

By 1971, Intel had already released the world's first generally available DRAM chip and therefore, built the world's first single chip general purpose microprocessor. Two years later in 1973, IBM developed what is considered to be the first true sealed hard disk drive. The hard disk drive is extremely important when dealing with the computer systems of today. This invention revolutionized the industry of computers. CP/M, developed by Gary Kildall in 1974, was the first operating system to run on machines from different vendors. Apple II debuted in 1977, featured with a keyboard, graphic display and BASIC built into ROM. This simplified computer built by Apple would develop into todayπs extremely efficient and universal system run by Mac computers.

By the late 80's, technology of computers had soared. Hard disk capacity had increased dramatically and researchers introduced the fastest computer at the time, the Cray-1. The first color computer, introduced in 1981 was called the Commodore, and was sold for less than $300. Advancement occurred with the issuing of the Osborne portable computer; it was 24 pounds, included a tiny built-in screen and cost $1795. The Osborne portable computer sparked the later ideas for the laptop that we are familiar with today. The ideas for a small portable computer were on target yet Osborne went bankrupt and was unable to continue his computer line. 1981 also marked the issuance of the IBM PC. The original PC cost $3000, and came with 64 Kb of RAM, a floppy disk drive and monochrome graphics.