The history of computers

August 30, 2019

The first computer

  The first mechanical computer, created by  Charles Babbage, an English mechanical engineer and polymath, originated the concept of a programmable computer. Considered the "father of the computer", he conceptualized and invented the first mechanical computer in the early 19th century
 The computer was originally invented to do repetitive calculations quickly and accurately.

In 1946 the first computer was announced. It was called ENIAC, which stood for Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer. ENIAC took up a large room and required several people to operate it. She operated with vacuum tubes and could output 5,000 addition problems in one second.The computer used 170,000 watts of power, weighed 28 tons, had 17,840 vacuum tubes, filled a large building and cost $487,000. (By today's standards, that is about ten million dollars!) It took several people to run her. It was basically a larger super fast calculator with some input features via punch cards. You think you have computer problems today? With 17,480 tubes, ENIAC required constant maintain as there was always a tube going out. On average, one would go out about about every other day. It took about fifteen minutes to locate the bad tube. It's longest continuous period of operation without a failure was 116 hours. Aside from the 17,480 vacuum tubes, ENIAC had 7,200 crystal diodes, 1,500 relays, 70,000 resistors, 10,000 capacitors and around 5 million hand-soldered joints. The typical computer you use today is of course tens of thousands of times faster.

How was the first computer invented?

 Consisting of over 50,000 components, the basic design of the Analytical Engine included input devices in the form of perforated cards containing operating instructions and a "store" for memory of 1,000 numbers of up to 50 decimal digits long. It also contained a "mill" with a control unit that allowed processing instructions in any sequence.Babbage copied the idea of punch cards to encode machine instructions from the Jacquard loom.The Difference Engine was accurate to 31 decimal places and when the team of engineers finished building a replica of what would have been the world's first computer printer, they were astound-ed at its complexity and feature sets .

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