The age of Computers

Believe it or not, but the age of computers is upon us. I believe Computers are not only here to stay, but in my opinion computers are the wave of the future. Only a device like the computer can change the way we work, live, and think. I see computers taking us places where no man has gone before. Twenty years ago people were just not up to date with computers back then. I mean if you ask someone about a computer, they probably would say something like, what in the world our you talking about, or what the hell is a computer. Today just about anybody you ask, can tell you something about a computer.

Papia Bhattacharyya , says: “Technology has bounded onto the center stage in the last few years”(59). The earliest existence of the modern day computer’s ancestor is the abacus. The abacus dates back to almost 2000 years ago. It is simply a wooden rack holding beads which are strung on wires. The next step in computers took place in 1694 when Blaise Pascal invented the first digital calculating machine, which was designed to help Pascal’s father who was a tax collector. Now we look at Charles Babbage, who many say is the father of computers. Charles Babbage was a professor of mathematics.

In the 1800’s Babbage designed an automatic calculation machine. This machine was steam powered and could store up to 1000 50-digit numbers. Charles Babbage was so ahead of his time, that the machines that were used back then were not even precise enough to make the parts for his computer. Gulliver, states: The first major use for a computer in the US was during the 1890 census. Two men, Herman Hollerith and James Powers, developed a new punched-card system that could automatically read information on cards without human intervention (Gulliver 82).

In the 1930’s punched-card machine techniques had become so well established that Howard Hathaway Aiken, together with engineers at IBM, came up with the automatic computer called Mark I. The Mark I ran by using prepunched paper tape. The Mark I was slow, and required 3 to 5 seconds to perform multiplication. But the computer was fully automatic and could complete long math problems without any human intervention. John P. Eckert, and John W. Mauchley in 1942 decided to build a high-speed electronic computer to do the job. This machine became known as ENIAC, for “Electrical Numerical Integrator And Calculator”.

Dolotta explains: ENIAC used 18,000 standard vacuum tabes, occupied 1800 square feet of floor space, and used about 180,000 watts of electricity. ENIAC is generally accepted as the first successful high-speed electronic digital computer and was used in many applications from 1946 to 1955 (Dolotta 50). A new look at the wonderful advancements in the world of computers, at this stage in time many things were beginning to happen with the computer. Shallis says: In 1971 Marcian E. Hoff Jr, an engineer at the Intel Corporation, invented the microprocessor and another stage in the development of the computer began (Shallis 121).

In the 1980’s large scale integration, in which hundreds of thousands of transistors are placed on a single chip, become common. Computers are taking us places where a lot of us thought was not possible. For instance the so called virtual reality is now being tested. This is a way to make reality come to life on a computer monitor. One wears these special electronic glasses and an electronic suit, and fastened to the suit are sensors, which send information to the main computer. The computer works with the data, and gives a three-dimensional view, as one looks through the electronic spectacles.

If you wanted to be soldier, all you had to do was simply change the scenery on the main computer, and you would be in the battle field fighting. Today many kids have computer games that will just blow you away, computer games so realistic, they can damn near scare you to death. From Charles Babbage, who to many is consider the father of computers till now, computers have grown from a standing start, into one of the biggest industries in the United States. Papia Bhattacharyya states, “Everyone wants to, and may perhaps eventually have to be a knower to survive”(59).

I see computers in the future taking us places where no man has gone before. Truly it is my belief and opinion, the computer is one of the most incredible inventions of this time period or any other. Bhattacharyya, Papia. “BAD ASSOCIATIONS”. Reading and Writing Short Arguments. ED. William Vesterman. Mountain View, California: Mayfield Press, 1997. 58-61. Dolotta, T. A. “Data Processing: 1940-1985” New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1985. Gulliver, David. “Silicon Valley and Beyond” Berkeley, Ca: Berkeley Area Government Press, 1981. Shallis, Michael. “The Silicon Idol”. New York: Shocken Books, 1984.


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