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Computers: A short history

Computers: A short history

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Computers: A short history

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  1. Computers: A short history

  2. In the beginning…. • The best place to begin is in the beginning… • Man has been attempting to improve the accuracy and capability of it’s mathematical abilities since we learned to count…..

  3. Computers:Early Attempts

  4. Pascal • Blaine Pascal (1623 – 1662) • Created a machine that was able to do addition and subtraction by means of gears and a hand crank. • This was to aid his father, a French tax collector • He built it when he was 19

  5. Leibniz • Baron Gottfied Wilheml von Leibniz (1645 – 1716) • Created a machine that could also multiply and divide

  6. Babbage • Charles Babbage (1792 – 1871) • Created a machine similar to Pascal’s • It used one formula to create tables used for marine navigation and printed the results onto a copper engraver’s plate • Babbage's “difference engine” could only add and subtract. He quickly desired to create a better machine

  7. Babbage cont. • “analytical engine” • Had four components • The store (memory) • The mill (computation unit) • Input Section (punched card reader) • Output Section (punched and printed output) • Could store 1000 words of 50 decimal digits

  8. Babbage cont. • Innovations from the invention • Data could be loaded from memory, acted upon and then stored back into memory • Decisions about what the “program” should do could be based on whether a certain value was positive or negative (“branching”) • Operated according to user created instructions (programmable)

  9. Babbage cont. • Creation of first programming language • First programmer • Lady Ada Lovelace • Daughter of British Poet Lord Byron

  10. Opportune Conditions • “One has only to recall the lack of significant interest in calculating machines in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries to realize that a technology becomes important historically not when it is developed but when it is applied in a practical and cost-effective manner.” -James W. Cortada Author

  11. Modern technologies tend to build on previous technologies. • Calculators and punch-card driven machines were growing in popularity from the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s

  12. Electricity Electrical Power Production, 1920 40 (billions of kilowatt hours) Year U.S. Germany France Italy U.K. 1920 30 15 6 5 9 1925 55 20 11 7 12 1930 90 29 17 11 18 1935 98 36 18 14 26 1940 140 62 24 21 38

  13. Mathematical and Information Theory • Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646­1716) • Founded universal calculus • Leibniz notation • George Boole (1815­1864) • “…made the critical leap forward in mathematics that would directly influence the evolution of any computer that used electricity.”

  14. Advances in technology • Vacuum tubes, relays, switches • We will discuss these in more detail shortly

  15. Modern Computers

  16. Generation 1 Vacuum Tubes

  17. COLOSSUS • 1st Electronic computer • Built by Britain to crack the ENIGMA encoding system used by the Nazi’s in WWII • Was classified for 30 years • No affect on the computer industry

  18. ENIAC • 1st American Computer • Built to calculate artillery trajectory tables • This task was currently being done by hundreds of women hired by the government • Weighed 30 tons and consumed 140 kilowatts • Programmed by 6000 multi-position switches

  19. EDSAC • Maurice Wilkes, University of Chicago • Wilkes came up with the idea of having a separate language to write code in and then creating a way to break that down into machine usable code

  20. EDVAC • Better version of the ENIAC • Created by Mauchley and Eckert's new company • Later became Unisys Corp. • Also was over-budget and late

  21. Computers in print • Calculators were first written about by Newsweek and Businessweek in 1945 • They, along with Time and Life, ran articles on calculators again in 1946

  22. Computers go Prime Time • The UNIVAC I made it’s television debut on Nov. 4, 1952. • With only 27 states reporting and 3.4 million votes out of an estimated 60 million the UNIVAC I predicted the outcome to within 4 electoral votes

  23. 1940’s – early 1950’s • Computers were primary the domain of theorists, engineers and educational institutes • The vast majority of funding came from the government who had seem the benefits as related to defense use

  24. John von Neumann • Genius • “..was a genius in the same league as Leonardo Da Vinci. He spoke many languages, was an expert in the physical sciences and mathematics, and had total recall of everything he ever heard, saw , or read.” “…he was already the most eminent mathematician in the world”

  25. Memory Input Control Unit Arithmetic logic unit Output von Neumann machine

  26. Generation 2 Transistors (1955 – 1965)

  27. Transistors • Developed at Bell Labs in 1948 • John Bardeen, Walter Brattain, and William Shockley were awarded the 1956 Nobel Prize in Physics for this invention

  28. Government dollars drive R&D • “As late as 1959, one government study suggested that 85% of research and development in electronics in the U.S. was being paid for by various government agencies” -Cortada p. 67

  29. Late 1950’s – 1960’s • New technologies have made it economically possible for companies to purchase a computer to do their large scale data processing. • The “industry” has started to drive the improvements in technology thereby taking some of the financial burden off of the government

  30. TX-0 • Developed at M.I.T. • First computer to use transistors • Didn’t become very popular • A student that worked on the TX-0 founded DEC

  31. PDP-1 • Was created by DEC which was founded by a former M.I.T. student. • Created as a cheaper solution than the IBM 7090 which was the fastest computer in the world at the time • PDP-1 = $120,000 • 7090 = $millions • spacewars

  32. PDP-8 • Followed the PDP-1 • Sold 50,000 units • Cost $16,000

  33. 6600 • Released in 1964 • Was 10x faster than the 7094 when it was released due to multiple processing units • Separate processors for addition and multiplication • Separates systems tasks and computations • Designed by Seymour Cray who went on to found Cray Super Computers which is still one of the premiere producers of super computers.

  34. Generation 3 Integrated Circuits (1965 – 1980)

  35. Silicon Integrated Circuit • Developed by Robert Noyce in 1958 • “allowed dozens of transistors to be put on a single chip.”

  36. IBM 360 series • 360 series was the first “family” of computers • Shared arcitechture and language • Provided scalability and a common interface for companies

  37. PDP-11 • Little brother to IBM’s 360 family just as PDP-1 was a little brother to the 7090 • Sold well due to it’s lower cost • Still popular amongst computer hardware collectors and hobbyists

  38. 1970’s • We begin to see computer shrinking in size and growing in power • This enables companies to buy workstations which hook individual employees into the giant mainframes from their desks

  39. Email - 1972 • “Ray Tomlinson of BBN develops a program to send messages across ARPANET. His program uses the "@" sign to separate email users' names from their machines.” –History Channel • Three days later Ray is the first person to received Spam

  40. Phreaking • Tech savy nerds were able to build “little blue boxes” which allowed them to control the phone switching systems by setting the boxes to produce certain tones • The phone companies beat this by sending the switching signals and the callers voice on separate lines

  41. The Social Side of Computing • Computers and the computing industry was in an interesting phase as the industry was beginning to be driven by the elite who were breaking ground daily. • Companies where now beginning to try and harness these geniuses but they really didn’t care (for the most part) about the money

  42. Problems in Paradise • First document network plague • In 1972 a computer had an error telling other email servers that it could deliver mail for a negative cost • All mail on the “internet” at the time was routed to this computer and was subsequently lost • Happened again Oct 27, 1980 • Jan 15, 1990

  43. Generation 4 Very Large Scale Circuits (VLSI) 1980 - present

  44. VLSI • VLSI allowed for thousands, then hundreds of thousands and now millions of transistors to be put onto a chip

  45. 1980’s • Continual improvements in technology have made it feasible for individual employees to actually have their own computer that they alone work on • Centralized computer still exist and done large tasks but also serve as a data repository for the smaller, independent machines

  46. “Own one today” • Computers were beginning to come home and as such were becoming less ominous • The software and hardware really weren’t built for the average consumer and still required a good deal of technical knowledge to use well

  47. Tragedy in technology • Computer Horror Story: the Therac-25 • Late 1980’s • Was the “newest” in a line of cancer treatments which used a focused pulse of radiation to kill cancer cells • The machine was not properly designed and as a result several patients were literally “cooked” by the supposedly helpful radiation beams

  48. Birth of the PC • In the early 80s IBM, now the king of high-end computers, decides that they want to enter the consumer market • Give a lone engineer a bag of money and instruct him to build a computer • He returns with a reasonably prices computer built from parts he bought from a local electronics store

  49. PC cont. • The new computer was sold as a kit that one would assemble • Along with the kit IBM sold the manual that the engineer had assembled when he built the first computer

  50. New Type of Millionaire • Computer companies started creating a new class of 20-something millionaire’s “overnight” • Apple’s stock went public in 1980. It went from $7 to $29 in one day making both of its founders millionaires “The Steves” (Wozniak and Jobs) Founders of Apple Computers