Evolution of Computers : Timeline and History of PCs. We all know the importance of computers in our lives. They are almost synonymous with our modern world and technology. It is a big leap that mankind has taken by making a computer and entering into the digital age. The later of the last century has seen some significant developments which led to the making of the first computer and the evolution of computers into the form we see now. We people are accustomed to computers, smartphones, tablets, software and games. It seems so normal, but the evolution of computers outlines a period of very rapid technological development in human history.
The birth and evolution of computers has occurred over a span of few decades. However, the birth of modern electronic computer is traced back to mechanical computers. Let us look at the evolution of computers as a Timeline.
Evolution of Computers : A Brief History and Timeline.
- Charles Babbage is considered the man who opened the avenue of computers. He is credited with making the first mechanical computer in 1822. This device was a mechanical device and it could make calculations like a calculator of today. Other significant developments during this time were that of punching cards and Boolean algebra. Developments in science were having an impact on computer engineering.
- The first powerful modernistic computer was the ENIAC ( Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer ) . Notice that the word Computer is just a part of the name. Integrator was the other component of ENIAC. It was developed at the U.S. Army’s Ballistic Research Laboratory , back in 1946. It was nicknamed “Giant Brain” because it was a gigantic size computer. It comprised of thousands of vacuum tubes, relays, resistors and capacitors. It was in real sense an electro-mechanical computer.
- The Baby : This was a more compressed size computer built at Manchester University which was much smaller than ENIAC. This computer was more powerful, capable of complex operations and had a memory structure. ENIAC had its weaknesses, therefore the Von Neumann Architecture was introduced.
- IBM made the first general purpose computer in 1953. It was designed to be used by business firms and for engineering applications. This was about the First Generation of Computers. They were all vacuum tube based.
- Second Generation of Computers was ushered in by the development of semiconductor technology and Transistors. This greatly reduced the size of computers, but led to much higher heat emissions. The most popular computer of the second generation was ERMA . It was used by General Electric Corporation for automating accounting tasks. It provided insight into the immense application of computers in business sphere.
- Third Generation of Computers used Integrated Circuits ( ICs) . These computers shrunk even further.This was the basic design for our modern day computer. It was in this generation that Video displays, color monitors, mouse and keyboard were introduced. Initial operating systems too outlined a remarkable development in software used to run a computer. The most popular computer of this generation was PDP 8, built by Digital Equipment Corporation ( DEC ) in 1965. This computer was as a fridge and had memory.
- Fourth Generation of Computers is the generation of type of computers that we have today. These are based on microprocessors, like the ones made by Intel . This generation has seen the rise of companies like Apple ( makers of personal computers ) and Microsoft. Fourth Generation has led to the introduction of computers in homes in the form of PCs and Tablets all over the world.
Computers are a part of our culture besides being an indispensable tool for programming, engineering, business etc. Computers are going to evolve into the Fifth Generation and we shall see new technology that is much more powerful.