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Date Added: May 22, 2007 03:01:34 AM

Computers & Life


When calculations became complicated and difficult for man, then he explored with an idea to invent a machine which could perform all types of arithmetic calculations faster, quicker and accurately. And thus this idea gave birth to a device or machine called “Computer”. The number of applications has increased now, its speed and accuracy has increased. It has a great impact on our day to day life, which is really remarkable and appreciated as well. Medical diagnosis, weather forecasting, booking tickets right from railways to airlines, payment of electric bills, banking, transactions, business data processing and the list is pretty endless. However there is one major drawback of the computer. It is a dumb machine, however in calculations it is superior to man but it cannot be operated unless proper instructions are given. This is why every man today should know how to operate a computer.


Olden Calculating Methods


Life has become computerized; the computer that we see and use today was not an easy task. It hasn’t come off by any inventor at one go. In fact it took centuries of rigorous research work. And the scientists are still working harder and harder to make things better and better. The history of computer could be traced back, when man had to convert large numbers. And this counting process led to various system of numeration like, Greek system of numeration, Roman system, Babylonian and the Indian system of numeration. The Indian system has been accepted universally out of all these systems. It is the basis of the decimal system of numeration. Later the computer solved all the calculations based on decimal systems. But the computer does not use decimal system but it uses the Binary system of numeration for processing. Experiments were going on earlier but it dates back to the 17th century when the first successful device was invented. The credit goes to Edmund Gunter, an English mathematician. But it was too early to be called a Computer. The first mechanical digital calculating machine existed in 1642 by the French Scientist philosopher Blaise Pascal. And the scientist -engineers paved the way to computer.


The first calculating device called ABACUS was developed by the Egyptian and the Chinese people. The word ABACUS means a calculating board. But the world had wait yet for centuries to reach the next milestone.


The Birth of Computers


The next wonder was done by an English mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage in 1830.The remarkable thing about the invention was that it could use and store values of large mathematician tables, in very simple binary system, with the help of only two kinds of symbol. Babbage’s could be regarded as a high speed counting device for it could only work on numbers alone. Then evolved the great Boolean algebra, which removed all the limitations of these counting devices. Meanwhile the technology advanced and in 1930 it helped in furthering the advancement Vf computing devices.



The Harvard Mark I computer designed by Harvard Aiken is the world’s first digital computer, it was developed jointly by the international business machine (IBM) and the Hungarian – American mathematician John Von Neuman introduced the Electronic Discrete variable automatic computer (EDVAC). And since then computers have increasingly become faster and more powerful. This version had only a single CPU performing various calculations like addition, multiplication and so on. A revised version brought a division of the CPU into memory and ALU and a separate input and output. In fact there were five generations of computer the first four were basically the type of hardware used that caused the difference over generation.


Advanced Technologies


First generation computer were large in size and writing programmes on them was difficult, they used Thermion Valves. There were some major drawbacks like operating speed was slow, large space fro installation, high power for consumption and capability was quite low. The first generation was upgraded around 1955 with a device called Transistor. It was further upgraded by integrated circuit chip technology; in this the tiny, little chips replaced large number of components. And gradually the size of the computer was reduced in the third generation and it became more powerful as well. But the real marvelous work came up in 1970s. In the fourth generation a very large scale integrated technology (VLSI) was introduced. In supplement it had a tiny microprocessor which could store millions of data. Then based on this the IBM introduced its personal computers. And the better inventors added to the list like Apple and others kept on coming up with more and more developed versions for more complicated works. Meanwhile, still modern, recent and tinnier versions like Laptops and Palmtops were designed with advanced technologies. But the credit doesn’t alone go to the advanced technology. Software kept on being developed on equal pace. The development of famous software manufactures like Microsoft, Oracle, Sun has helped equally and now complex problems can be solved in a fraction of a minute with the device called Computer. There are varieties of computers that we see. Actually they belong to the fifth generation, they can be divided into different categories based upon their size, memory, efficiency and the users.


MICROCOMPUTER has the lowest storage capacity and the speed is comparatively slow as well. Examples of microcomputer are IBM, PC and PC-AT.

MINICOMUPTER possesses higher speed and large storage capacity. It is a multi-user in which many users can operate at the same time. They are also used as servers in the Local Area Networks (LAN).MAINFRAMES operate at a very high speed, have large storage capacity and can be operated by many users. Examples of mainframes are DEC, ICL and IBM 3000 series. They are used as controlling nodes in Wide Area Networks (WAN). SUPERCOMPUTER is the most expensive and fastest device. It has also a multiprocessing technique. They are mainly used for remote sensing, weather for casting, biomedical research and also in science and technology. Examples of such computers are YMP, CRAY, CRAY2, CRAY XMP, NEC SX-3 and PARAM from India. It can be said shortly that over these five generation the physical size of the computer has decreased, but on the other hand the speed has increase immensely.


And the history doesn’t end here as development is a continuous process. Definitely, the world will, very shortly, acknowledge a new and developed version and an advanced software manufacturer.


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