Technology moves fast. In the past hundred years, we have moved from primitive machines, barely capable of simple mathematics equations, to mobile phones capable of taking photos, sharing data, and communicating across the globe, in an instant.
A Look Back in Computing History
Initial Design and Concept
Going way back to the beginning, the concept for modern computing was born in the 19th century. An English mathematics professor named Charles Babbage designed the Analytical Engine. His ideas were the foundation for concepts which fathered programmable computers. His early models had data and program memory separated, operation that was instruction based, and separate input output units. He is credited with inventing the first mechanical computer, though it was never officially completed. This was the basic framework for what computers today were based upon.
First Generation of Modern Computing
Most people classify the history of computing into three separate generations. The first generation occurred from the late 1930’s to mid-1940s. It is marked by the creation of the first digital computer called the ABC. The ABC computer was built by Dr. John V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry, hence the acronym (Astanasoff-Berry Computer). This was built in 1937. By 1943, the military had built their first computer, the Colossus. It was the first digital computer that was fully programmable. It was used during World War II in order to decrypt ciphers. Finally, by 1946, the first general purpose computer was built called the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC for short. It weighed 30 tons, had 18,000 vacuum tubes through which processing was done. It could not multitask, and had no operating system.
Second Generation of Modern Computing
This generation of computers is marked by the use of transistors instead of vacuum tubes. In 1951 the first computer for commercial use was released to the public called the UNIVAC1 and by 1953, IBM released the 650 and 700 series computer. The significant point of this generation, which occurred from 1947-1962, was that over 100 computer programming languages were developed, and memory and operating systems came about. Additionally, tape and disks were used for storage as well as printers for output.
Third Generation of Modern Computing
In 1963 the biggest change in computing altered everything. The integrated circuit helped computers get smaller, more reliable, and faster. They could run multiple programs at once. By 1980 MS-Dos was born and by 1981 IBM released their first personal computer for home and office use. Shortly after, Apple gave users a GUI, or graphic user interface, and by the 1900’s the internet was born. Computers continually got faster, and high speed cable modems changed the way data was shared. Cell phones and mobile devices continue to alter computing landscape. No piece of information is beyond our fingertips. Touch screens, Motion Control, and Cloud Based Services are the direction computing is moving in now. There is no doubt that computing will constantly change and evolve. We can’t wait to see what else is in store for us.