Today, computers are often seen as these high-powered devices that provide us with a multitude of uses. They help us to digitalize our thoughts and ideas, connect with people halfway across the world, and even serve as a companion for our entertainment needs.
Computers first started in the 19th Century by an English-Mathematics professor named Charles Babbage. Very different to why we use them today, computers, or analytical engines as they were referred to back then, we invented as a way to efficiently solve math problems. While no prototype was ever made, it was he who created the framework for the computers we know today.
As the technology of the world grew, so did the evolution of computers. The growth hit one of its major roadblocks when vacuum tubes, which facilitated the flow of electrons and controlled the power of the computer, were dubbed as unreliable. Thankfully, three physicists by the names of William Shockley, Walter Brattain, and John Bardeen, introduced the world to transistors. Using elements such as Germanium or Silicon could serve as semiconductors of electricity, and helped stabilize the power used by computers. This also served as a switch to turn a computer on and off.
This ushered in an era where computers could be manufactured commercially. In 1951, Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) invented the first computer that was introduced to the public. This paved the path for more and more developers. Newly improved computer languages, operating systems, and even a computer chip where created during this era. It was also at this time that Douglas Engelbart created a prototype of the modern computer, which uses a mouse and graphical user interface.
The so-called, Third Generation, was ushered in by the invention of the integrated circuit, which helped minimize the size of computers, from giant heaps of metal to the personal computers we know today. This led to a host of computer companies being born, some of which, like Intel, IBM, and Apple, are still alive today. Each of them contributed their spin on what they thought computers should be.
A lot of these innovations like the floppy disk, introduction of programs, as well as more efficient operating systems, helped make the computer user-friendlier for the common people.
Finally, computers were slowly being accepted by the masses and seen as a tool that can be used for everyday tasks.
As more and more people accepted this technology, the practical functions of computers grew well. Through the years, these devices also ran faster and more efficiently, became smaller in size, and their uses broadened. The introduction of the Internet also greatly affected the evolution of computers.
All these changes eventually lead us to the computer we know today and love very dearly. Even in our current generation, computers as constantly transforming and adapting to the needs of people. Who knows what the future holds with regards to the evolution of computers. Right now, as we look back on the history of computers, let us just be thankful for these great minds, and what they have contributed to us.
Computers are not only a symbol of the brilliance of humans but a true testament to what we can achieve if we work together and build on each other’s visions.
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