Referat Michael Hofer Thursday, 29th May 1997 Computers Today computers are used everywhere: in banks, supermarkets, offices or at home. But how was the modern computer created? A precursor of the digital computer was the adding machine. It was devised in 1642 by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal. It was a machine based on a series of toothed wheels, each tooth representing a number from 0 to 9. They were connected so that numbers could be added to each other by turning the wheels by a correct number of teeth. Analog computers began to be built at the beginning of the 20th century. Such machines were used for solving very difficult equations. During world wars mechanical and electrical analog computers were used in submarines and aircraft. In the 1940s, Howard Aiken, a Harvard University mathematician, created the first digital computer. It was huge and primitive but it could solve equations without using any mechanical adding machine parts. The use of the transistor in computers in the late 1950s made the development of smaller, faster, and more reliable computers possible. With the invention of integrated circuits and microprocessors the evolution of the computers went on. A modern digital computer is not a single machine. Instead it is a system composed of five elements: A central processing unit (CPU, Processor), input devices (keyboard, mouse), memory storage devices (RAM, diskdrive, harddisk), output devices (monitor, printer) and a communications network (bus) that links ...
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