Лекция: Text 2. The Development of the Computer

The inventions and ideas of many mathematicians and scientists led to the development of the computer. The first mechanical calculating machines were invented during the 1600’s. One of the most notable of these devices was built in 1642 by the French mathematician and scientist Blaise Pascal.

During the 1830’s an English mathematician named Charles Babbage developed the idea of a mechanical digital computer. He tried to construct a machine called an analytical engine. The machine contained the basic elements of an automatic computer and was designed to perform complicated calculations according to a sequence of instructions. However, the technology of Babbage’s time was not advances enough to provide the precision parts needed to complete the machine.

Another important contribution to the development of the computer was made in the mid 1800’s by George Boole, an English logician and mathematician. Boole devised a system of formulating logical statements symbolically so that they could be written and proved in a way similar to that of ordinary algebra. In 1930 the first reliable analog computer was built. This machine, called a differential analyzer, solved differential equations.

During the 1940’s, John Von Neuman, an American mathematician, introduced an idea that improved the computer design. He proposed that programs could be coded as numbers and stored with data in a computer’s memory. The invention of the transistor in 1947resulted in the production of faster and more reliable electronic computers. The new machines also were smaller and less expensive than earlier models.

The continued miniaturization of electronic equipment during the late 1960’s and 1970’s led to further advances in computer technology. The development of the integrated circuit enabled engineers to design both minicomputers and high-speed mainframes with tremendous memory capacities.

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