[Sci-Tech] Computer Development Timeline

The marvels of electronic miniaturization that are modern PCs are a relatively recent development. They are the descendants of vacuum- tube devices introduced in the early 20th century. Here are some early landmark events in computer history:

1623: 1st Mechanical Calculator : German mathematician Wilhelm Schickard developed the 1st mechanical calculator, capable of adding, subtracting, multiplying,and dividing.

1642: Pascal’s adding and subtracting machine : French mathematician Blaise Pascal built an adding and subtracting machine that he invented.

1801: French inventor Joseph Marie Jacquard demonstrated a new control system for looms. He “programmed” the loom, communicating desired weaving operations to the machine via patterns of holes in paper cards.

   Pic: Old Computer

1833-71: Charles Babbage – Analytical Engine British mathematician and scientist Charles Babbage used the Jacquard punch-card system in his design for a sophisticated, programmable “Analytical Engine” that foreshadowed basic features of today’s computers.

1889: Punch-card tabulating system : American engineer Herman Hollerith patented an electromechanical punch-card tabulating system that facilitated the handling of large amounts of statistical data and quickly found use in censuses in the U.S.

1911: IBM Hollerith’s Tabulating Machine : Company merged with 2 other enterprises to form the Computing-Tabulating- Recording Company, renamed in 1924, the International Business Machines (IBM).

1941: Digital Computer : German engineer Konrad Ziise completed the Z3, the 1st fully functional digital computer to be controlled by a program; the Z3 was not electronic—it was based on electrical switches called relays.

1942: Iowa State College physicist John Vincent Atanasoff and his assistant Clifford Berry completed a working model of the 1st fully electronic computer, using vacuum tubes, which could operate much more quickly than relays; the rudimentary machine as not programmable.

1944: Mark – I Computer : IBM and Harvard Professor Howard Aiken completed the 1st large-scale automatic digital computer, the Mark- I, a relay-based machine 55 feet long and 8 feet high. 1943: British scientists built the Colossus, an electronic computer designed specifically for breaking German codes.

1946: ENIAC : Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, a 30-tonne room-sized electronic computer with over 18,000 vacuum tubes,was completed by physicist John Mauchly and engineer J. Presper Eckert at the University of Pennsylvania for the U.S. Army. Eniac could be programmed to do different tasks, although programming could take a couple of days, since cables had to be plugged in and switches set by hand.

1951: UNIVAC : Eckert and Mauchly’s Univac (“Universal Automatic Computer”) became the 1st computer commercially available in the U.S.

1969-71: Unix Operating System : The powerful Unix operating system, was developed at Bell Laboratories; later versions became widely used on large computers
and formed the basis for the popular Linux and Macintosh OSX operating systems for personal computers.

1971: Intel released the 4004, the 1st commercial microprocessor (an entire computer processing unit on a chip).

1973: The Alto computer, developed at Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Center, became operational, implementing many features used years later in commercial personal computers; including a graphical user interface(GUI) featuring windows, icons, a mouse, and pointers.

1975: The 1st widely marketed personal computer, the MITS Altair 8800, was introduced in kit form, with no keyboard and no video display, for under $400.

1975: Microsoft was founded by college dropouts Bill Gates and Paul Allen.

1976: The 1st word-processing program for personal computers, the Electric Pencil, was written.

1976: Apple Computer Company was founded by Steven Jobs and Stephen Wozniak.

1977: Apple introduced the Apple II; capable of displaying text and graphics in color, the machine enjoyed phenomenal success. 1981: IBM unveiled its “Personal Computer,” which used Microsoft’s DOS (disk operating system).

1984: Apple introduced the 1st Macintosh. The easy-to-use Macintosh came with a proprietary operating system and was the 1 st popular computer to have a GUI (graphical user interface) and a mouse.

1990: Microsoft released Windows 3.0, the 1st workable version of its own GUI.

1991: Linux was invented for the personal computer by Helsinki University student Linus Torvalds and made available for free.

1996: The Palm Pilot, the 1st widely successful handheld computer and personal information manager, arrived.
1998: Search Engine Google came into existence on Sep 4, 1998 at Stanford University, USA. Larry Page and Sergrey Brin two Ph.D Researchers founded Google.

2001: Apple introduced the Unix-based operating system OSX for the Macintosh.

2002: The total number of personal computers (PCs), including desktop and laptop machines of all types, shipped by manufacturers since 1975 reached 1 billion.

2004: Social networking website Facebook was launched.

2005: Apple announced it would start using Intel microprocessors in its Macintosh computers beginning in 

2006: The Macintosh traditionally used microprocessors of a different design than the chips made by Intel and other companies that were found in the more than 90% of PCs running Microsoft Windows.

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