Evolution of Computer Notes [Chapter 3] pdf

Computer Notes | Evolution of Computer | Abacus | Pascal Calculator | Analytical Engine | Herman Hollerith and Punch Cards | First Electronic Computer (ENIAC) | Stored Program Concept (EDSAC) | UNIVAC 1

The computer is a man-made electronic machine that changes the way we work, live, and play. A machine that has done all this and more now exists in nearly every business and one out of every two households. This incredible invention is the computer. The computer is one of the most powerful innovations in human history. The electronic computer has been around for over a half-century, but its ancestor abacus has been around for 2000 years However, only in the last 40 years it has changed our lifestyle. From the first wooden abacus to the latest high-speed microprocessor, the computer has changed nearly every aspect of people’s lives for the better. With the use of computers, people are suddenly able to perform a large number of computations at dazzling speed. Information can be crunched, organized, and displayed in the blink of an eye. Things that only dreamed of a few years ago are now possible due to computers.

1. Abacus

The abacus is one of the earliest known computation devices. It is a tool that helps in calculating answers of arithmetic problems. It is simply a wooden rack holding parallel wires on which beads are strung. Calculations are done by manipulating the beads. The abacus was developed in China about 5000 years ago. The abacus was so successful that its use spread from China to many other countries.

2. Pascal Calculator

The first real mechanical calculator was invented by a French scientist and mathematician Blaise Pascal, around 1645. The device was constructed by Interlocking gears representing the numbers 0 to 9. It was only able to do addition and subtraction, so it is called adding machine.

3. Analytical Engine

In 1801, Joseph Marie Jacquard perfected the idea of the automated weaving loom. Using holes punched into a series of connected cards, Jacquard was able to control the weaving of fabrics. The Jacquard loom not only cut back on the amount of human labor but also allowed for patterns to be stored now on cards and to be utilized over and over again to achieve the same product. In 1820 Charles Babbage, a British mathematician and inventor, designed and built the mechanical calculator and the Difference Engine on principles that anticipated the modern electronic computer. The concept Babbage put forward was eventually used by engineers in the development of the first computer prototype. For this reason, Charles Babbage is known as the father of computing. Despite ten years of work, Babbage failed to built a fully operational model of Difference or Analytical Engine. In 1842 Lady Lovelace wrote a demonstration program and her contribution to binary arithmetic was later used by John Von Neumann in developing the modern computer. So she is often regarded as the “first computer programmer”.

4. Herman Hollerith and Punch Cards

In 1890 the United States Census Bureau asked Herman Hollerith to find a way to speed up the processing a census data. Herman Hollerith created punched cards that resemble today’s computer cards. He also invented the Hollerith 80 column code and tabulating machine.

5. First Electronic Computer (ENIAC)

Howard Aiken, with his colleagues at Harvard and with some assistance from International Business Machines he had built by 1942 the Mark I, the world’s first program-controlled calculator, an early form of a digital computer. In 1944 John Mauchley, an American Physicist, and J. Presper Eckert, an American engineer, proposed an electronic digital computer, called the Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC), and completed it in 1946 which is regarded as the first successful general digital computer.

6. Stored Program Concept (EDSAC)

According to John Von Neumann’s concept, the operating instructions and data used in processing should be stored inside the computer. Whenever necessary the computer would have the capability to modify these program instructions, during their execution. This concept was incorporated into the EDSAC computer (Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Computer), which was developed at Cambridge University. This computer was capable of storing a sequence of instructions, the equivalent of the first computer program.


It is the short form of Universal Automatic Computer. In 1951 it was introduced and became the first commercially available computer. The UNIVAC 1 was characteristic of the first generation of computers.

DevelopmentApproximate DatesImportant Features
Abacus2000-3000 BCFirst mechanical calculator
Pascal’s Calculator1645First adding machine capable of counting, adding, and subtracting
Jacquard’s Weaving Loom1801Utilized metal plates with punched holes to control weaving patterns
Babbage Analytical Engine1834-1871Intended to be the first general-purpose computer. The engine was never constructed in Babbage’s lifetime.
Herman Tabulating Machine1887-1896Designed a code and device to punch data into card and tabulate collected data. Used in automating the Census of 1980.
Howard Aiken Mark I1937-1944The largest electromechanical computer ever built. Utilized punch paper tape to store data.
ENIAC1943-1950First electronic computing devices in which program wired into a permanent panel. No significant storage capability.
John Von Neumann’s Stored Program Concept1945-1952Developed the concept of storing program instructions and data in the memory of the computer. Credited with introducing the idea of coding data and instructions in binary.
EDSAC1946-1952First computer capable of storing instructions and data in memory.
UNIVAC 11951-1954First computer that was commercially available and produced in quantity.

Which is the first calculating device?

The first calculating device is Abacus.

Who invented the first mechanical calculator?

The first mechanical calculator was invented by Blaise Pascal.

Who invented the punch card?

The punch card was invented by Herman Hollerith.

What is the analog computer?

The analog computer is a machine which works on data which is always changeable.

What is the laptop?

A laptop is a personal computer designed for mobile use. It is small enough to sit on one’s lap and fits into a briefcase. It integrates most of the components of a desktop computer, including a monitor, a keyboard, a pointer device (also known as a trackpad), speakers, and other drives. It includes a rechargeable battery, so it works anywhere. By using Bluetooth and wi-fi we can access the internet.

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