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I. History of Computers





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Let us take a look at the history of the computers that we know today. The very first calculating device used was the ten fingers of a man's hands. This, in fact, is why today we still count in tens and multiples tens. Then the abacus was invented, a bead frame in which the beads are moved from left to right. People went on using some farm of abacus well into 16th century, and it is still being used in some parts of the wo id because it can be understood without knowing how to read. During the 17* and 18th centuries many people tried to find easy ways of calculating. J. Napier, a Scotsman devised a mechanical way of multiplying and dividing, which is how the modern slide rale works. Henry Briggs used Napier's ideas to produce logarithm tables which a mathematicians use today. Calculus, another branch of mathematics, was independently invented by Sir Isaak Newton, an Englishman, and Leibnitz, a German mathematician.




The first real calculating machine appeared in 1820 as the result of several people's experiments. This type of machine, which saves a great deal of time and reduces the possibility of making mistakes, depends on a series of ten-toothed gear wheels. In 1830 Charles Babbage, an Englishman, designed a machine that was called "The analytical Engine". This machine, which Babbage showed at Paris Exhibition in 1885, was an attempt to cut out the human being altogether, except for providing the machine with the necessary facts about the problem to be solved. He never finished this work, but many of his ideas were the basis for building today's computers.

In 1930, the first analog computer was built by an American named Vannever E$ush. The device was used in World War II to help aim guns. Mark I, the name given to the first digital computer, was completed in 1944. The men responsible for this invention were Professor Howard Aiken and some people from IBM. This was the first machine that could figure out long lists of mathematical problems, all at a very fast rate. In 1946 two engineers at the University of Pennsylvania, J. Eckert and J. Mauchly, built the first digital computer using parts called vacuum tubes. They named their new invention ENIAC. Another important advancement in computers came in 1947, when John von Newmann developed the idea of keeping instructions for the computer inside the computer's memory.

The first generation of computers, which used vacuum tubes, came out in 1950. Univac is an example of these computers which could perform thousands of calculations per second. In 1960, the second generation of computers was developed and these could perform work ten times faster than their predecessors. The reason for this extra speed was the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes. Second-generation computers were smaller, faster and more dependable than first -generation computers. The third-generation computers appeared on the market in 1965. These computers could do a million calculations a second, which is 1000 times as many as first-generation computers. Unlike second-generation computers, these are controlled by tiny integrated circuits and are consequently smaller and more dependable. Computers of the fourth generation have integrated circuits that have been greatly reduced in size. This is due to a microminiaturization, which means that the circuits are much smaller than before; as many as 1000 tiny circuits now fit into a small chip. A chip is square or a rectangular piece of silicon, usually from 1/10 to 1/4 inch, upon which several layers of integrated circuit are etched or imprinted, after which the circuit is encapsulated in plastic, ceramic or metal.

 


Fourth-generation computers can complete approximately 1000000 instructions per

second.

It has been said that if transport technology had developed as rapidly as computer

technology, a trip across Atlantic Ocean today would take a few seconds.

Tasks:

1. Which statement best expresses the main idea of the text? Why did you eliminate
the other choices?

- Computers, as we know them today, have gone through many changes.

- Today's computer probably won't be around for long.

- Computers have had a very short history.

2. Decide which statements are true and which of them are false.

- People go on using some forms of the very first calculating devices. • Logarithm tables were used during the 17th and 18th centuries.

- The first real calculating machine depended on a series of vacuum tubes.

- The first real calculating machine saved a great deal of time and reduced the possibility of making mistakes.

- The first analog computers were used to help aim the guns.

- Jolin von Newmann invented the method of containing the information inside the computer's memory which was a very important advancement in computers.

- Today's computers use a single chip to provide their work.

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