By Nell Dale
Designed to offer a breadth first assurance of the sector of machine technological know-how.
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Charles Babbage designed what he called his analytical engine. His design was too complex for him to build with the technology of his day, so it was never implemented. His vision, however, included many of the important components of today’s computers. His design was the first to include a memory so that intermediate values did not have to be re-entered. His design also included the input of both numbers and mechanical steps, making use of punched cards similar to those used in Jacquard’s Loom.
Each computer was designed to understand a set of instructions, called its machine language. Conventional machines such as the IBM 370/168 had an instruction set of over 200 instructions. Instructions were fast and memory access was slow, so specialized instructions made sense. As memory access got faster and faster, using a reduced set of instructions became attractive. SUN Microsystems introduced a workstation with a RISC chip in 1987. Its popularity proved the feasibility of the RISC chip. These workstations were often called UNIX workstations because they used the UNIX operating system.
From that point, the search has focused not only on building faster, bigger devices, but also on the development of tools to allow us to use these devices more productively. The history of computing hardware from this point on is categorized into several “generations” based on the technology they employed. First Generation (1951–1959) Commercial computers in the first generation (from approximately 1951–1959) were built using vacuum tubes to store information. 5, generated a great deal of heat and was not very reliable.
Computer Science Illuminated by Nell Dale