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THE FIRST COMPUTERS

In 1930 the first analog computer was built by American named Vannevar Bush. This device was used in World War II to help aim guns.

Many technical developments of electronic digital comput­ers took place in the 1940s and 1950s. Mark I, the name given to the first digital computer, was completed in 1944. The man responsible for this invention was Professor Howard Aiken. This was the first machine that could figure out long lists of mathe­matical problems at a very fast rate.

In 1946 two engineers at the University of Pennsilvania, J.Eckert and J.Maushly, built their digital computer with vacu­um tubes. They named their new invention ENIAC (the Elec­tronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator).

Another important achievement in developing computers came in 1947, when John von Neumann developed the idea of keeping instructions for the computer inside the computer's memory. The contribution of John von Neumann was particu­larly significant. As contrasted with Babbage's analytical engine, which was designed to store only data, von Neumann's ma­chine, called the Electronic Discrete Variable Computer, or EDVAC, was able to store both data and instructions. He also contributed to the idea of storing data and instructions in a bi­nary code that uses only ones and zeros. This simplified com­puter design. Thus computers use two conditions, high voltage, and low voltage, to translate the symbols by which we commu­nicate into unique combinations of electrical pulses.

Neumann's stored program computer as well as other ma­chines of that time were made possible by the invention of the vacuum tube that could control and amplify electronic signals. Early computers, using vacuum tubes, could perform compu­tations in thousandths of seconds, called milliseconds, instead of seconds required by mechanical devices.

analog computer— аналоговый ком­пьютер

digital computer— цифровой компь­ютер

to aim guns— наводить орудия на цель

to figure out— вычислять

at a fast rate— с высокой скоростью

memory / storage— запоминающее ус­тройство

to store data and instructions — запоминать информацию и команды

stored program computer — компьютер с занесенной в память программой

binary code— двоичный код

condition— режим, состояние, условие

vacuum tube— электронная (вакуумная) трубка (лампа)

to amplify— усиливать

to perform computations — выпол­нять вычисления

Ответьте на вопросы, ис­пользуя информацию текста.

1. When was the first analog computer built? 2. Where and how was that computer used? 3. When did the first digital computers appear? 4. Who was the inventor of the first digital computer? 5. What could that device do? 6. What is ENIAC? Decode the word. 7. What was J.Neumann's contribution into the development of computers? 8. What were the advantages of EDVAC in comparison with ENIAC? 9. What does binary code mean? 10. Due to what invention could the first digital com­puters be built?

 




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