The primordial humans were the ones who invented the earliest counting instrument. Sticks, stones, and bones were employed as counting tools by the ancients. As the human intellect and technological advancements progressed over time, more computer devices were created. The following are some of the most common computer devices, starting with the very earliest and progressing to the most current.
History of computers began with the invention of the abacus, which is considered to be the world’s first computer by many experts. In ancient Chinese history, it is thought that the Abacus was developed roughly 4,000 years ago.
Basically, it was a wooden rack with metal rods attached to it that had beads hanging from them. The abacus operator moved the beads across the board according to a set of rules in order to accomplish arithmetic computations. In certain nations, such as China, Russia, and Japan, the abacus is still in use. An illustration of this utility is shown below.
- Napier’s Bones
John Napier (1550-1617) of Merchiston was the inventor of the calculating gadget, which was controlled by the user manually. The nine distinct ivory strips or bones imprinted with numerals that he used to multiply and divide were employed in this calculating instrument. As a result, the instrument came to be known as “Napier’s Bones.” In addition, it was the first machine to make use of the decimal point.
Pascaline is also referred to as Arithmetic Machine or Adding Machine in some circles. It was created between 1642 and 1644 by Biaise Pascal, a French mathematician and philosopher who lived between 1642 and 1644. On the basis of historical evidence, it is thought to be the first mechanical and automated calculator.
Pascal created this gadget in order to assist his father, who worked as a tax accountant. It was solely capable of doing addition and subtraction. This device consisted of a wooden box with a set of gears and wheels within. When a wheel is rotated one revolution, it causes the next wheel to be rotated as well. The totals may be read by looking through a set of windows provided on the top of the wheels. An illustration of this utility is shown below.
- Stepped Reckoner or Leibnitz wheel
In 1673, a German mathematician-philosopher named Gottfried Wilhelm Leibnitz devised a method for calculating the square root of a number. In order to create this machine, he expanded on Pascal’s concept. It was a digital mechanical calculator known as the stepped reckoner because, instead of gears, it was built of fluted drums, which gave it the name “stepped.” Take a look at the following image:
- Engine of Differing Opinions
It was created in the early 1820s by Charles Babbage, who is often regarded as the “Father of the Modern Computer.” It was a mechanical computer with the ability to do rudimentary mathematical operations. In its original form, it was a steam-powered calculating machine used to solve tables of numbers, such as logarithm tables.
- Analytical Engine
Charles Babbage also invented this calculating machine in 1830, and it is still in use today. It was a mechanical computer that took punch-card input as its input method. In addition to being capable of solving any mathematical problem, it was also capable of storing knowledge in its own permanent memory.
- Tabulating Machine
Herman Hollerith, an American statistician, was the first to use the term in 1890. It was a mechanical tabulator that used punch cards to keep track of the numbers. It might compile statistical data and record or sort data or information, among other things. This machine was used in the United States Census of 1890. Hollerith also founded the Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine Company, which subsequently became International Business Machine (IBM) in 1924. Hollerith was also the founder of the International Business Machine Company.
- Differential Analyzer
In 1930, it became the world’s first electronic computer when it was debuted in the United States. Invented by Vannevar Bush, it was a type of analogue gadget. In order to do computations, this computer makes use of vacuum tubes, which switch electrical signals. It was capable of performing 25 computations in a matter of minutes.
- Mark I.
It was in 1937 when Howard Aiken proposed to build a machine that could do computations involving enormous numbers, which marked the beginning of the next significant chapter in the history of computers. The IBM and Harvard collaboration that resulted in the development of the Mark I computer began in 1944. It was the world’s first digital computer that could be programmed.
Computers are divided into generations.
A computer generation refers to the specific advancements in computer technology that have occurred over time. To execute the counting, electronic paths known as circuits were invented in 1946. It took the place of the gears and other mechanical components that were previously utilised for counting in computer devices.
With each successive iteration, the circuits got smaller and more sophisticated than the circuits of the preceding generation. Computers’ speed, memory, and power have all increased as a result of their shrinking. It is possible to categorise computers into five generations, which are explained below.
Computers from the first generation
The first generation of computers (from 1946 to 1959) were sluggish, large, and costly. Vacuum tubes were employed as the fundamental components of the central processing unit and the memory in these computers. These computers were mostly reliant on a batch operating system and punch cards for their operation. During this generation, magnetic tape and paper tape were utilised as output and input methods, respectively.
The following are some of the most popular first generation computers:
- ● ENIAC ( Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer)
- ● EDVAC ( Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer)
- ● UNIVACI( Universal Automatic Computer)
- ● IBM-701
- ● IBM-650
Computers of the Second Generation
The transistor computers were introduced during the second generation, which operated from 1959 to 1965. These computers made use of transistors, which were inexpensive, small, and consumed less power; this resulted in transistor computers being far quicker than first generation computers.
Magnetic cores were employed as the primary memory in this generation, and magnetic discs and tapes were used as the secondary storage in this generation. These computers were programmed in assembly language and programming languages such as COBOL and FORTRAN, as well as batch processing and multiprogramming operating systems, among other things.
The following are some of the most popular second generation computers:
- ● IBM 1620
- ● IBM 7094
- ● CDC 1604
- ● CDC 3600
- ● UNIVAC 1108
Computers of the Third Generation
Instead of transistors, integrated circuits (ICs) were employed in the third generation of computer systems. A single integrated circuit (IC) may contain a large number of transistors, increasing the power of a computer while simultaneously decreasing its cost. In addition, the computers grew more dependable, efficient, and compact in size. As an operating system, this generation computers made advantage of remote processing, time sharing, and multi programming techniques. This generation also made use of high-level programming languages such as FORTRON-II through IV, COBOL, PASCAL PL/1, and ALGOL-68.
The following are some of the most popular third generation computers:
- ● IBM-360 series
- ● Honeywell-6000 series
- ● PDP(Personal Data Processor)
- ● IBM-370/168
- ● TDC-316
Computers of the Fourth Generation
The fourth generation of computers, which spanned from 1971 to 1980, made use of very large scale integrated (VLSI) circuits, which were chips comprising millions of transistors and other circuit components. Computers of this generation were more small, powerful, quick, and economical as a result of these CPUs. Real-time, time-sharing, and distributed operating systems were employed by computers of this age. This generation also made use of programming languages such as C, C++, and DBASE, among others.
The following are some of the most popular fourth generation computers:
- ● DEC 10
- ● STAR 1000
- ● PDP 11
- ● CRAY-1(Super Computer)
- ● CRAY-X-MP(Super Computer)
Computers of the Fifth Generation
VLSI technology was phased out in favour of ULSI technology in computers of the fifth generation (from 1980 to the present) (Ultra Large Scale Integration). It made it feasible to manufacture microprocessor chips with 10 million electronic components in a single batch. Parallel processing hardware and AI (Artificial Intelligence) software were utilised in the development of this generation of computers. C, C++, Java,.Net, and other programming languages were utilised by this generation of computer programmers.
The following are some of the most popular fifth generation computers:
- ● Desktop
- ● Laptop
- ● NoteBook
- ● UltraBook
- ● ChromeBook