Beginning of Computing


We all know that a computer is an electric device and a programmable machine. The English mathematician, philosopher, inventor and mechanical engineer Charles Babbage (1791-1871) is known for originating the concept of a programmable computer and that is why he is called the “father of the computer”.

Babbage was the first person who invented first mechanical computer that eventually led to more complex computers. He devised a plan for a stored-program mechanical computer, using data modeled after the punched card templates in industrial (jacquard) looms.

The first electronic digital computer was the ABC unit by John V. Atanasoff and Clifford Berry in 1940 at Iowa State University. Several of its ideas were incorporated into the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer) which ran from 1945-1955 and is considered the first functionally useful electronic digital computer.
Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) was innovated in 1940s that led to the first commercially successful computer.

One of the earliest personal computers was the Intellect 4 by Intel, using their first commercially produced microprocessor –the four-bit 4004. The Altair built by MITS was another first commercially successful personal computer. Bill gates and Paul Allen wrote Microsoft’s (then known as Microsoft) first software product for-“BASIC for the Altair”.

Then in 1983, came the TRS-80 that was Tandy Corporation’s desktop microcomputer model line, which became famous as one of the trendiest home computers. Its TRS-80 Model 100 was an early portable computer introduced in 1983. It was one of the first notebook-style computers, or a prototype of a laptop, featuring a keyboard and LCD display, battery powered, in a package roughly the size and shape of notepad or large book. This model running on 4 AA batteries very soon got popular with newspaper reporters. Now writing stories from field was possible provided there was an internet connection.

Brain Computer Interface

A brain computer interface refers to the exchange of data between the human mind and a computer. It has for long been the subject of study wherein brain signals can be used to operate a computer and no longer the stock stuff of science fiction where a person thinks of a command and the computer executes it. Earlier, implanted electrodes were used for this purpose. However, with recent advances in non-invasive technology, even these are not required and scientists are working at using brain activity for computer operation. It would be particularly useful for the disabled.

The functioning of computers is primarily based on one thing that is their ability to determine whether a switch (gate) is open or closed. It can recognize whether it is on or off. But, it’s the speed of this act which makes them so efficient. The speed which is now measured in megahertz and giga hertz trillions of cycles per second in the super computers. So, the data held in a computer in binary form, using the digits 0 and 1. By counting, comparing and manipulating these two digits in their various combinations according to a set of instructions held in its memory, computer is able to perform a variety of tasks.

What is utility computing?

Utility computing is a service provisioning model in which a service provider makes computing resources and infrastructure management available to the customer as needed, and charges them for specific usage rather than a flat rate. Like other types of on-demand computing (such as grid computing), the utility model seeks to maximise the efficient use of resources and/ or minimize associated costs.

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