The First Electronic Computers

Maybe some of you don’t know about the origins of modern computers. First of all, a computer is a programmable machine that receives input, stores and manipulates data, and provides output in a useful format.

This has “nothing to do” with all the new gadgets we daily see at the computer shops? You are right and wrong at the same time. Initially, it was all about the data (solving math problems was enough and a great event). And of course modern computers based on integrated circuits are millions to billions of times more capable than the early machines, and occupy a fraction of the space.

The first electronic computers were developed in the mid-20th century (1940-1945). Originally, they were the size of a large room, consuming as much power as several hundred modern personal computers (Pcs).

The Atanasoff-Berry Computer (ABC) was among the first fully electronic digital binary computing devices. The machine was not programmable in the modern sense, being designed only to solve systems of linear equations. The computer did employ parallel computation.

The inventor of the program-controlled computer was Konrad Zuse, who built the first working computer in 1941 and later in 1955 the first computer based on magnetic storage.

Computers using vacuum tubes as their electronic elements were in use throughout the 1950s, but by the 1960s had been largely replaced by transistor-based machines, which were smaller, faster, cheaper to produce, required less power, and were more reliable.

In the 1970s, integrated circuit technology and the subsequent creation of microprocessors, such as the Intel 4004, further decreased size and cost and further increased speed and reliability of computers. By the late 1970s, many products contained dedicated computers and they started to appear as a replacement to mechanical controls in domestic appliances such as washing machines. Then in the eighties appeared the first home computers.

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