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Explorations of Technology
History of Computers
Mr. Hanlon
May 23, 2017
Definition of a computer.
-electronic machine
-accepts data
-processes it
-provides results
-simple comparisons
May 23, 2017
First Generation
1939 - 1946
ABC (Atanasoff-Berry Computer) used the binary number system
of 1s and 0s that is still used today. It contained hundreds of
vacuum tubes and stored numbers for calculations by
electronically burning holes in sheets of paper.
ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integration and Calculator) –
weighed 30 tons and occupied 1500 square feet. It also used
vacuum tubes, which consumed huge amounts of electricity that
produced tremendous heat. ENIAC was given a problem that
would have taken a team of mathematicians three days to solve
and it solved the problem in twenty seconds.
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Second Generation
Bell Laboratories invented the transistor which replaced
many tubes thus decreasing the size and expense of the
computer while making the calculating speeds faster.
Second generation computers also saw a change in the way
data was stored. Punched cards were replaced by magnetic
tape. Using magnetic tape gave computers the ability to
read and write data quickly and reliably.
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1961 - 1969
Third Generation
Integrated circuits (chip) replaced transistors. One IC
could replace hundreds of transistors, giving computers
tremendous speed. Increase speeds and decrease cost.
Mainframes which are large computer systems that are
used for multi-user applications. Most people using
mainframes communicate with them using terminals.
May 23, 2017
1970 - Present
Fourth Generation
The Intel Corporation invented the microprocessor, an entire CPU
on a single chip. The replacement of several larger components
by one microprocessor made possible the fourth generation of
From the small microprocessor came the microcomputer. A
computer that fits on a desktop is called a microcomputer.
Advances in technology made PCs inexpensive and therefore
available to many people.
Altair 8800 is considered the first microcomputer.
May 23, 2017
4 Types of hardware components.
1. Input Devices- devices from which the computer can accept data.
2. Memory – ICs inside the base unit where data can be stored
3. CPU– an IC inside the base unit that consists of an ALU and a control unit.
4. Output Devices – devices that display or store processed data.
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How Data Flows
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Primary Storage - Memory
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