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UNIT 6 Computer History

Warm up

Sort the devices out. A PC, a laptop, an Apple, a… ?

Can you tell the year (or a decade)?

<key words>:

digital adding device abacus
multiplication division addition
computation sequential control branching
looping storage binary logic
switching punched cards microprocessor

Read and Speak

1. Read the text.

The modern electronic digital computer is the result of a long series of developments, which started some 5000 years ago with the abacus. The first mechanical adding device was developed in 1642 by the French scientist-philosopher, Pascal. His 'arithmetic machine', was followed by the 'stepped reckoner' invented by Leibnitz in 1671, which was capable of also doing multiplication, division, and the evaluation of square roots by a series of stepped additions, not unlike the methods used in modern digital computers.

In 1835, Charles Babbage formulated his concept of an 'analytical machine' which combined arithmetic processes with decisions based on the results of the computations. This was really the forerunner of the modern digital computer, in that it combined the principles of sequential control, branching, looping, and storage units.

In the later 19th-c, George Boole developed the symbolic binary logic which led to Boolean algebra and the binary switching methodology used in modern computers. Herman Hollerith, a US statistician, developed punched card techniques, mainly to aid with the US census at the turn of the century; this advanced the concept of automatic processing, but major developments awaited the availability of suitable electronic devices. J Presper Eckert and John W Manchly produced the first all-electronic digital computer, ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator), at the University of Pennsylvania in 1946, which was 1000 times faster than the mechanical computers.

Their development of ENIAC led to one of the first commercial computers, UNIVAC I, in the early 1950s, which was able to handle both numerical and alphabetical information. Very significant contributions were made around this time by Johann von Neumann, who converted the ENIAC principles to give the EDVAC computer (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer) which could modify its own programs in much the same way as suggested by Babbage.

The first stored program digital computer to run an actual program was built at Manchester University, UK and first performed successfully in 1948. This computer was later developed into the Ferranti Mark I computer, widely sold. The first digital computer (EDSAC) to be able to be offered as a service to users was developed at Cambridge University, UK, and ran in the spring of 1949. The EDSAC design was used as the basis of the first business computer system, the Lyons Electronic Office.

Advances followed rapidly from the 1950s, and were further accelerated from the mid-1960s by the successful development of miniaturization techniques in the electronics industry. The first microprocessor, which might be regarded as a computer on a chip, appeared in 1971, and nowadays the power of even the most modest personal computer can equal or outstrip the early electronic computers of the 1940s.

information provided by Cambridge Dictionary of Scientists

2. Go google and explain the meaning of the following:

● What is “stepped addition?”

● What is “sequential control”? “Branching”? “Looping”?

● What is “binary logic”?

3. Fill in the table below:

dates Names of developers country/university events
      Invention of the abacus
      concept of an 'analytical machine' which combined arithmetic processes with decisions based on the results of the computations
  George Boole    
  Herman Hollerith    
      Development of UNIVAC I
  Johann von Neumann    
    Manchester University, UK  
      The first digital computer (EDSAC)
      development of miniaturization techniques in the electronics industry

4. Give a short summary of the text

Vocabulary work

Make up 4 groups. Each group reads a part of this text. Set the key points and entitle your part. Swap information with the other groups and try to restore the whole story in its original order.

Date: 2015-12-24; view: 165

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