1822. Many attempts were made to improve the reliability of the machines invented by Pascal and Leibniz, but the engineering techniques available could not produce the precisions required. The first machine to perform the basic arithmetic operations suitable for commercial use was the Arithmometer built by Charles Xavier Thomas in 1822. Only about 1600 Thomas machines were actually constructed.

1887. Leon Bollee of France designed the first machine to perform multiplication directly rather than by repeated additions. The device had a multiplying piece consisting of a series of tongued plates representing the ordinary multiplication table up to multiples of 9. The milliner, a popular commercial calculating machine based on the principles developed by Bollee, was manufactured in Switzerland. It required only one turn of the handle for each figure of the multiplier and provided for automatic shift to the next position.

1934.The first prototype electronic computer, with vacuum tubes replacing electromagnetic relays, was conceived in 1934 by Dr. John Vincent Atanasoff at Iowa State University. After concluding that none of the ten available calculating devices was adequate for his needs, Atanasoff decided to build his own machine. He teamed up with Clifford Berry, his graduate assistant, and began the task of building the first electronic computer. This computer, called the Atanasoff-Berry computer (ABC), was completed five years later.

Atanasoff's attempts to get either IBM or Remington Rand interested in his invention and to obtain patent rights for himself failed. Although he conceived and designed the first electronic digital computer, his invention was for many years credited to others. In 1974 a federal judge ruled that Atanasoff was the true inventor of the concepts required for a working electronic digital computer. It is now generally agreed that the design of the ABC and the use of electronics in that computer provided the foundation for the developments of electronic digital computers.

1937. Howard Aiken of Harvard University began working on an automatic calculating machine called the Mark I, a relay machine. With the help of graduate students and IBM engineers, Aiken's automatic machine was completed in 1944. The Harvard Mark I was 51 feet long and 8 feet high, contained 760,000 parts, used 500 miles of wire, and weighed about 5 tons. It used a program to guide it through long series of calculations. It could add, subtract, multiply, divide, compute trigonometric functions, and perform other complicated calculations. Addition and subtraction were accomplished in 0.3 seconds, multiplication in less than 6 seconds, and division in less than 16 seconds.

1938. Several early electromechanical computers using relays for switching purposes were built at Bell Telephone Laboratories, starting in 1938. These special-purpose computers were based initially on the work of Dr. George R. Stibitz. The first one, called the complex calculator, is said to be the first computer to employ binarycomponents. This machine, put into operation in 1940, could be remotely controlled and performed arithmetic operations on two numbers. Models II and III were built to solve military problems and were placed in operation in 1943 and 1944, respectively. Model IV could handle trigonometric functions, such as sine and tangent. Model V contained 9000 relays and 50 pieces of Teletype equipment, weighed 10 tons, and occupied 1000 square feet of floor space. Model VI, the last of the family, was built for Bell Laboratories' own use and featured many improvements, including magnetic tape storage units.

1941.A relay computer was built in Germany in 1941 by Konrad Zuse. Called the Z3, its logical operations were alterable by changing the interconnections among the relays. The Z3 was the world's first working general-purpose program-controlled computer.

Remember the following terms and phrases:

to improve reliability

complex calculator

Engineering technique

Sine

Precision

binary components

Arithmometer

Tangent

Handle

foot – feet

Automatic shift

logical operations

Prototype

Interconnection

Electronic digital computer

general – purpose program – controlled computer

Relay machine

trigonometric functions

complicated calculations

electromechanical computers

special-purpose computers

Task 1 Give Russian equivalents to the following:

1 be (become) available
2 suitable for
3 commercial use
4 rather than
5 tongued plates
6 were based initially on the work of
7 be conceived
8 be adequate for the needs
9 team up with
10 attempts to obtain patent rights failed
11 true inventor

12 federal judge ruled
13 work on
14 to be completed
15 it used a program to guide it through
16 long series of calculations
17 to be accomplished
18 less than
19 employ binary components
20 handle trigonometric functions
21 were alterable
22 the last of the family

Task 2 Find in the text the suitable English equivalents to the following:

1 представляющие собой обычную таблицу умножения до 9;

2 коммерческая вычислительная машина;

3 заменяющие электромагнитное реле;

4 имеющиеся вычислительные устройства;

5 создание АВС - компьютера завершилось пятью годами позже;

6 его изобретение в течение долгих лет приписывалось другим;

7 послужили основой для развития электронных цифровых компьютеров;

8 для целей переключения;

9 введенные в эксплуатацию;

10 имела дистанционное управление;

11 были введены в эксплуатацию в 1943 и 1944 годах, соответственно;

12 много раз модернизировалась;

13 запоминающие устройства на магнитной ленте

Task 3 Pay attention to the correct translation of the subjective infinitive construction in the following sentence from the text. Start the translation with: «Говорят, что…».

1 The first one, called the complex calculator, is said to be the first computer to employ binary components.

Practice some more examples:

1 Computer systems are said to be divided into two parts: hardware and software.

2 Lake Baikal is said to be the deepest in the world.

3 The heart of the computer system is thought to be CPU and internal memory.

4 ALU is supposed to perform some kind of logical operations such as comparing or selecting information.

5 A complete microcomputer system is considered to be composed of a microprocessor, a memory and peripheral equipment.

Task 4 Answer the following questions.

1 What was the first machine to perform the basic arithmetic operations suitable for commercial use?

2 Did the first prototype electronic computer have electromagnetic relays?

3 Who invented ABC-computer?

4 What kind of machine was Mark 1 automatic calculating machine?

5 When was the first computer employing binary components put into operation and what kind of machine was it?

6 Who built the first working general-purpose program-controlled computer?

Task 5 Say which statements best express the main idea of the text.

1 Many mechanical calculators developed could not meet the precision requirements and commercial calculating needs.

2 Only Howard Aiken’s automatic calculating machine (Mark1) could add, subtract, multiply, divide, compute trigonometric functions and perform other complicated calculation at a high speed.

3 Many attempts and improvements of the calculating machines made in the 18-th and 19-th centuries led to the creation of the first program-controlled computer in 1941.

Task 6 Look through the text again and agree or disagree with the following statements.

1. Pascal and Leibniz machines were used up to the beginning of the 19-th century.

2. The milliner, a popular commercial calculating machine was built by Charles Xavier Thomas in 1887.

3. The first prototype electronic computer based on vacuum tubes was conceived by John Vincent Atanasoff in 1934.

4. Dr. Attanasoff could obtain patent rights for himself and became the inventor of the working electronic digital computer.

5. Mark 1 computer was the fastest machine of its time.

6. The first complex calculator employing binary components was put into operation in 1940, but could not be remotely controlled.

7. Bell Laboratories used all six models of the complex calculator.

8. 1941 was the year of the first program-controlled computer creation.