Today, life has become indispensable without a computer. You find computerization in almost every sphere and industry. Computer evolution has been a fascinating process as we find out here.
The very first stages
One of the first occurrences of the evolution of computers was during 1930. That was the time when binary arithmetic came to be discovered and as we know, this is the very crux of computer terminology and languages. As early as 1642 a machine, which could mechanically add numbers, was discovered. This set the stage for the computer evolution of later years. From these adding devices came the renowned ABACUS, which was a significant milestone in the history of computers.
From bulky to sleek
The initial computers invented were bulky and so massive that it was impossible to carry them around. In 1939, the Berry brothers invented an electronic computer operating digitally. This was similar to an ABC model. Computations and calculations were performed using vacuum tube while a capacitor memory of regenerating mechanism was used. Then came the ‘Z machines’, out of which the Z3 was one of the most significant events in evolution of computers. It was invented in 1941 and has floating point as well as binary arithmetic used in it. It also possessed a significant amount of programming in it. It was also Turing complete and so it was considered to be the very first computer that was fully operational. Then during the next two years computer prototypes were built to decode secret German messages in the US army. The 1960s saw the advent of transistor mechanized computers. In the history of computers this was a significant achievement as it replaced the old vacuum tubes used earlier.
Transistors: energy savings and more efficiency
With the advent of transistors in computers, there was more energy savings and greater degree of efficiency. The computer evolution now began to see computers that were more compact. These were also much more cost-effective. However, transistors posed a drawback in that it emitted too much heat from computers. This caused large-scale damage to the computers. Input devices such as punched cards were used on such transistor mechanized computers. In the evolution of computers, this was the second generation of computer devices.
Third generation: Integrated circuits
The third generation of computer evolution was characterized by the invention of integrated circuits. These were semi-conductors and comprised tiny transistors kept over silicon chips. This raised efficiency and processing speeds of computers by a great deal. Operating systems were introduced, which became the interface between humans and machines and input devices like keyboards and output devices like the monitor came to be used. Gradually, thousands of these integrated circuits began to be placed over a single chip made of silicon. This was called the microprocessor and is the basis of computers to this day. This invention of microprocessors was the fourth generation in the history of computers and their evolution. The fifth generation in computer evolution is marked by artificial intelligence and other exciting prospects. It is still underway.