Computer Fundamentals

Computer Definition:
  • The word computer comes from the word “compute”, which means, “to calculate”
  • A computer is a tool or instrument that helps in computation.  Computation includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, comparison of numbers, manipulation of texts, logical decisions etc.
  • The efficiency of the computer depends on the set of instructions given to it.
Evolution of Computers:
  • ABACUS, used for calculations, was the earliest device.  The ABACUS was built using the idea of place values.
  • John Napier developed Logarithm
  • Slide Rule, based on the principle of the logarithm, a calculating device was invented by William
  • Blaise Pascal, a Frenchman, invented a mechanical unit.  This ‘calculator’ was the first digital machine. 
  • Pascal’s machine invented by  Blaise Pascal
  • Charles Babbage built the ‘Difference Engine’ In 1822
  • Charles Babbage is considered as Father of the modern computer.
  • Joseph Jacquard invented punch cards in 1801
  • In 1880, Dr.Herman Hollerith used punched cards for data processing by building a tabulating machine that could punch holes in cards and read them as well.
  • In 1944, Howard Alken built MARK1, the first digital computer, at Harvard University.
  • In 1936, Alan Turing from Cambridge University submitted his brilliant logical analysis on ‘artificial intelligence’.
  • In 1930, Germans developed a mechanical machine called as ‘ENIGMA’ for coding military messages.
  • In 1939, Britain initiated to build machines that could decipher Enigma’s codes.
  • In 1942, USA started to develop an electronic computer.  In 1946, it could put to operation ‘ENIAC’ (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator), made in University of Pennsylvania.
  • UNIVAC-1 was the first business-oriented computer developed in 1952 used by US Bureau of Census.

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