Computer History

What Does Computer History Mean

We explain the history of the computer, its background and the characteristics of each generation of computers.

The history of the computer begins in 1834 with Babbage's Analytical Engine.

Computer History

The computers , computers or computers are more efficient calculation tools ever invented . They have enough computing power, autonomy and processing speed to replace us in many tasks, or allow us work dynamics that have never been possible before in history , to the point of becoming indispensable today.

These gadgets were invented in the 20th century, forever revolutionizing the way we understand industrial processes , communications , society, and many other areas of life .

Its story begins with the first proper computer, the authorship of which cannot be strictly attributed to any single person . Since then they have changed enormously and they have changed us enormously, which is why many scholars consider their appearance a Second Industrial Revolution or even a Digital Revolution.

See also: Generations of computers

Computer Background

The computer's history dates back to 4,000 BC. C. when the first machines designed for arithmetic and the first slide rules were invented . Among them is the abacus, an important advance in the field.

Much later, more sophisticated inventions were created, such as Blaise Pascal's machine (known as Pascal's Machine or Pascalina), created in 1642. It consisted of a series of gears that allowed mechanical arithmetic operations to be carried out. By improving it, in 1671 Gottfried Leibniz started the first calculators , close cousins of the computer.

In 1802 Joseph Marie Jacquard invented a punch card system that would allow him to automate his looms and thus reduce the need for labor . In 1822 they were the inspiration of the Englishman Charles Babbage in the creation of a differential calculus machine. Babbage is "the father of the computer" because in 1834 he invented a kind of analytical engine .

First generation (1940 to 1952)

Punch cards supplied instructions to early machines.

The initial generation of computers began with the invention of the first automatic calculating machines , which could properly be considered a "computer". They responded to the need during World War II to decipher secret enemy codes.

They were electronically based on vacuum tubes and valves. They could be programmed by a set of simple instructions, which had to be supplied to the system via punched paper or cardboard cards, as in Babbage's invention.

Second generation (from 1956 to 1964)

The second generation represented an important change, since the vacuum valves were replaced by transistors , allowing to make the machines much smaller and also reducing their electricity consumption.

These were also the first machines to have a programming language , such as the famous FORTRAN. Thus, the punched card system soon became obsolete.

Third generation (from 1965 to 1971)

Integrated circuits began the miniaturization of computers.

The leap to the third generation was determined by the invention of integrated circuits: they allowed to increase the processing capacity of the machines and, if that were not enough, to reduce their manufacturing costs .

They were printed circuits on silicon chips, with small transistors and semiconductors built into them. This was the first step towards the miniaturization of computers.

Fourth generation (from 1972 to 1980)

Microprocessors appeared with the first personal computers.

The gradual integration of the previous electronic components led to the appearance of microprocessors : new integrated circuits that gather all the fundamental elements of the computer and that soon began to be called chips .

Thanks to them, computers could decentralize their logical-arithmetic operations. For example, replacing silicon ring memory with chip memory was an important step toward microcomputing. The first personal computers or PCs belonged to this generation .

Fifth generation (from 1983 to 2019)

The most recent generation, in force today , witnessed the most enormous diversification in the field of the computer in all its history. It became portable, light and comfortable , and even expanded its use boundaries thanks to the possibility of computer networks .

The computer no longer even needs to be fixed in a room, but can travel in our briefcases. Never before has processing speed, versatility and convenience converged so much in the world of the computer, allowing it to merge with telephones (giving birth to the Smartphone) and with many other different formats.

6th generation (from 2019 to the near future)

Little is known of the generation of computers to come. The great advances in artificial intelligence, quantum computation and algorithms of learning promise future highly automated and enormous industrial potential. In it, the computer can stop being an artifact that accompanies us and become inside our own bodies.

Continue with: Computer Components

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