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Timeline of Computer History
Called the “Model K” Adder because he built it on his “Kitchen” table, this simple demonstration circuit provides proof of concept for applying Boolean logic to the design of computers.
resulting in construction of the relay-based Model I Complex Calculator in 1939.
That same year in Germany, engineer Konrad Zuse built his Z2 computer, also using telephone company relays.
Hewlett-Packard is founded
David Packard and Bill Hewlett found their company in a Palo Alto, California garage.
Their first product, the HP 200A Audio Oscillator, rapidly became a popular piece of test equipment for engineers.
Walt Disney Pictures ordered eight of the 200B model to test recording equipment and speaker systems for the 12 specially equipped theatres that showed the movie “Fantasia” in 1940.
The Complex Number Calculator (CNC) is completed
In 1939, Bell Telephone Laboratories completes this calculator, designed by scientist George Stibitz. In 1940, Stibitz demonstrated the CNC at an American Mathematical Society conference held at Dartmouth College.
Stibitz stunned the group by performing calculations remotely on the CNC (located in New York City) .
using a Teletype terminal connected via to New York over special telephone lines. This is likely the first example of remote access computing.
personal computer (PC), a digital computer designed for use by only one person at a time.
A typical personal computer assemblage consists of a central processing unit (CPU), which contains the computer’s arithmetic, logic, and control circuitry on an integrated circuit;
two types of computer memory, main memory.
\such as digital random-access memory (RAM), and auxiliary memory, such as magnetic hard disks and special optical compact discs, or read-only memory (ROM) discs (CD-ROMs and DVD-ROMs);
and various input/output devices, including a display screen, keyboard and mouse, modem, and printer. See also computer: History of computing.
From hobby computers to Apple
Computers small and inexpensive enough to be purchased by individuals for use in their homes first became feasible in the 1970s.
when large-scale integration made it possible to construct a sufficiently powerful microprocessor on a single semiconductor chip.
A small firm named MITS made the first personal computer, the Altair.
This computer, which used Intel Corporation’s 8080 microprocessor, was developed in 1974.
The personal computer industry truly began in 1977
with the introduction of three preassembled mass-produced personal computers: Apple Computer, Inc.’s (now Apple Inc.) Apple II.
the Tandy Radio Shack TRS-80, and the Commodore Business Machines Personal Electronic Transactor (PET).
These machines used eight-bit microprocessors (which process information in groups of eight bits, or binary digits, at a time) .
and possessed rather limited memory capacity—i.e., the ability to address a given quantity of data held in memory storage.
But because personal computers were much less expensive than mainframe computers.
Of these computers, the TRS-80 dominated the market
The TRS-80 microcomputer came with four kilobytes of memory, a Z80 microprocessor, a BASIC programming language, and cassettes for data storage. To cut costs, the machine was built without the ability to type lowercase letters.
Thanks to Tandy’s chain of Radio Shack stores and the breakthrough price ($399 fully assembled and tested).
the machine was successful enough to persuade the company to introduce a more powerful computer two years later.
the TRS-80 Model II, which could reasonably be marketed as a small-business computer.
The Apple II received a great boost in popularity when it became the host machine for VisiCalc,.
the first electronic spreadsheet (computerized accounting program).
Other types of application software soon developed for personal computers.
IBM Corporation, the world’s dominant computer maker, did not enter the new market until 1981.
when it introduced the IBM Personal Computer, or IBM PC. The IBM PC was significantly faster than rival machines.
had about 10 times their memory capacity, and was backed by IBM’s large sales organization.
The IBM PC was also the host machine for 1-2-3, an extremely popular spreadsheet introduced by the Lotus Development Corporation in 1982.
The IBM PC became the world’s most popular personal computer, and both its microprocessor, the Intel 8088, and its operating system.
which was adapted from Microsoft Corporation’s MS-DOS system, became industry standards.
Rival machines that used Intel microprocessors and MS-DOS became known as “IBM compatibles” if they tried to compete with IBM on the basis of additional computing power or memory and “IBM clones” if they competed simply on the basis of low price.
In 1983 Apple introduced Lisa, a personal computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) to perform routine operations.
A GUI is a display format that allows the user to select commands, call up files, start programs, and do other routine tasks by using a device called a mouse to point to pictorial symbols (icons) or lists of menu choices on the screen.
Faster, smaller, and more-powerful PCs
The Intel 80386 32-bit microprocessor (introduced 1985) gave the Compaq Computer Corporation’s Compaq 386 (introduced 1986) and IBM’s PS/2 family of computers (introduced 1987) greater speed and memory capacity.
Apple’s Mac II computer family made equivalent advances with microprocessors made by Motorola, Inc.
The memory capacity of personal computers had increased from 64 kilobytes (64,000 characters) in the late 1970s to 100 megabytes (100 million characters) by the early ’90s to several gigabytes (billions of characters) by the early 2000s.
By 1990 some personal computers had become small enough to be completely portable
They included laptop computers, also known as notebook computers, which were about the size of a notebook, and less-powerful pocket-sized computers.
known as personal digital assistants (PDAs).
At the high end of the PC market, multimedia personal computers equipped with DVD players and digital sound systems allowed users to handle animated images and sound (in addition to text and still images) .
sending, and sharing information electronically. The uses of personal computers continued to multiply as the machines became more powerful and their application software proliferated.
By 2000 more than 50 percent of all households in the United States owned a personal computer, and this penetration increased dramatically over the next few years as people in the United States (and around the world) purchased PCs to access the world of information available through the Internet.
As the 2000s progressed, the calculation and video display distinctions between mainframe computers
and PCs continued to blur: PCs with multiple microprocessors became more common; microprocessors that contained more than one “core” (CPU) displaced single-core microchips in the PC market;
and high-end graphic processing cards, essential for playing the latest electronic games.
became standard on all but the cheapest PCs. Likewise, the processor speed, amount and speed of memory, and data-storage capacities of PCs reached or exceeded the levels of earlier supercomputers.
Home computers were a class of microcomputers that entered the market in 1977 and became common during the 1980s.
As early as 1965, some experimental projects, such as Jim Sutherland’s ECHO IV, explored the possible utility of a computer in the home.