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A Strong Background in Computer Technology Computer technology has advanced dramatically over the past ten years Technology has advanced from computers the size of a room that can only perform one particular task to personal computers PCs that will fit on a desk and perform multiple tasks Understanding computers and their programs and being able to apply that knowledge is very important in todays workplace Engineering is a field that requires an extensive background in computer technology Future engineers will benefit dramatically from having a strong background in computer technology In order to understand why computers are important we have to understand what a computer is and what it does A computer is a device capable of performing a series of calculations or logical operations without human intervention The computer is characterized by the number and complexity of operations it can perform and by its ability to process store and retrieve data Computers 1 The development of computers began in the 19th century by British mathematician Charles Babbage Eadie 3 Babbage designed but did not build a mechanical digital device capable of processing information as a modern computer does 4 In 1930 American scientist Vannevar Bush built a mechanically operated device called a differential analyzer 4 It was the first general-purpose analog computer Analog computers will be discussed later in this paper The first information-processing digital computer actually built was the Automatic Sequence Controlled Calculator or Mark I computer 4 Completed in 1944 this electromechanical device was designed by American engineer Howard Aiken 5 In 1946 the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer or ENIAC was put into operation 5 Using thousands of electron tubes it was the first electronic digital computer In the late 1950s transistors replaced electron tubes in computers allowing a reduction in the size and power consumption of computer components 5 In the 1960s hybrid computers were tried that connected analog computers to
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