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Word Count: 588
The History of Computers Man has always looked for easier ways to solve mathematical problems One of the earliest machines known and still used at times is the abacus By moving the beads on their rods you could compute numbers Beginning in the late 1600s people started inventing machines that would do calculations for them Most of these machines used clockwork gears and levers The next innovation was the use of punch cards to give the machine directions and to input data Herman Hollerith first successfully used this in computers in 1890 to sort out the US Census taken that year The punch card system is still used in some computers today The first electronic computers appeared in the 1940s Their electronic switching circuits were based on vacuum tubes that turned on and off using the binary system During World War II there was a need to quickly calculate trajectories for missiles used by the military The ENIAC Electronic Numeric Integrator and Calculator was built to be used by the military It could do five multiplication operations in a second This was a step up from the Mark I with took 3 to 5 seconds to perform a single operation The problem with the ENIAC was that it had to be rewired each time it did a new operation John von Neumanns solution was the stored-program concept where the computers program is stored in internal memory with the data What is considered the First Generation of computers the 1950s still used vacuum tubes The computers used a machine language using the binary system Punch cards were used to input data and instructions Magnetic drums were used for secondary storage and then in 1957 these were replaced by magnetic tape The problems with the First Generation machines were that the vacuum tubes kept burning out The vacuum tubes were replaced during the next generation 1959-1963 of computers by transistors Transistors were much more reliable
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