What is Computer and History of Computer | Computer Bot

What is a computer?

The word 'computer literally means 'something that computes or calculates" However, to consider a computer to be merely a calculating device would be to severely limit its powers. It may be defined as a device that can operate upon information or data. The information is processed based on a set of instructions provided to generate the output

What is Computer and History of Computer | Computer Bot

The dictionary defines a computer as, 'An automatic electronic apparatus for making calculations or controlling operations that are expressible in numerical or logical terms."


The first mechanical adding machine was invented by Blaise Pascal in 1642. Later, in the year 1671, Baron Gottfried Wilhelm von Leibniz of Germany invented the first calculator. Around this time, Herman Hollerith came up with the concept of punched cards, which were extensively used as an input medium in mechanical adding machines,

Charles Babbage, a 19th century professor at Cambridge University, is considered the father of the modern digital computer. During this period, mathematical and statistical tables were prepared by a group of clerks. Utmost care and precautions, however, could not eliminate human errors.

In 1842, Babbage came up with his new idea of the Analytical Engine, which was intended to be completely automatic. This machine was capable of performing basic arithmetic functions. However, these machines were difficult to manufacture because the precision engineering required to them was not available at that time.

The following is a brief description of the various generations of computers.

1) Mark I computer (1937-44): This was the first fully automatic calculating machine designed by Howard A. Aiken and the design of which was based on the technique of punching card machinery. In this technique, both mechanical and electronic components were used.

2) Atanasoff-Berry computer (1939-42): This computer was developed by Dr John Atanasoff to solve certain mathematical equations. It used 45 vacuum tubes for internal logic and capacitors for storage.

3) ENIAC (1943-46): The Electronic Numerical Integrator And Computer (ENIAC) was the first electronic computer developed for military requirements and was used for many years to solve ballistic problems.

4) EDVAC (1946-52): One of the drawbacks of ENIAC was that its programs were wired on boards, which made it difficult to change them. To overcome the drawbacks of ENIAC, the Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer (EDVAC) was designed. The basic idea behind this concept was that sequences of instructions could be stored in the memory of the computer for automatically directing the flow of operations.

5) EDSAC (1947-49): Professor Maurice Wilkes developed the Electronic Delay Storage Automatic Calculator (EDSAC), by which addition and multiplication operations could be accomplished.

6) UNIVACI (1951): The UNIVersal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC) was the first digital computer to be installed in the Census Bureau in 1951 and was used continuously for 10 years. In 1952, International Business Machines (IBM) introduced the 701 commercial computers. These computers could be used for scientific and business purposes.

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