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Open the brackets using the Present Continuous Tense or the Present Simple Tense

1) Computer system (to have) hardware, software and firmware. 2. The computer (to fetch) and (to execute) instruction at this moment. 3. The CPU (to consist) of the ALU and control unit. 4. The speed of computer operation (to depend) on many capabilities. 5. Computer in some cases (to resemble) a calculation. 6. We (know) that a computer (to be) a general-purpose machine. 7) They (to suppose) that their mainframe (to execute) all instruction given to it. 8) He (to prefer) to use a laptop in his work. 9) When we (to come) to the institute, the computer (to work). 10) Software programs (to require) to press one or more buttons.

Additional Text

(for individual work)

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From the History of the Computers

Let us take a look at the history of the computers that we know today. The first calculating devices used were ten fingers of a man’s hand. The ancient Babylonians, as traders, needed a quick and easy way of working with high numbers, and so they developed a decimal system of writing numerals. They were also the first to use a symbol for zero.

The decimal system depends on the position of each digit. Ten was taken as the basis of the system because men used to count on their fingers. Not all ancient peoples used a decimal system, however, and there are still some primitive tribes who can count no further than three.

Even the Romans, who were so advanced in many ways, were poor mathematicians. They were held back by inefficient system of writing numbers, which included no symbol for zero. The circuits in an electronic computer can either be on or off, according to the impulse they receive. Thus a binary or ‘two-based’ system of counting is needed to suit the on/off pulses. This is why binary mathematics is now taught in many schools, medicine, trade, science, etc.

Then the abacus was invented. People used some form of abacus till the 16th century and it is still used in some parts of the world because it can be understood without knowing how to read. During the 17th and 18th centuries many people tried to find easy ways of calculating. Napier, a Scotsman, developed a mechanical way of multiplying and dividing which is how the modern slide ruler works. Henry Briggs used Napier’s ideas to produce logarithm tables which all mathematicians use today. Calculus, another branch of mathematics, was independently invented by Sir Isaac Newton, an Englishman, and Leibniz, a German mathematician. The first calculating machine appeared in 1820. This machine saves a great deal of time and reduces the possibility of making mistakes.

Most people think of computers as very modern inventions, products of our new technological age. But actually the idea for a computer was worked out over two centuries ago by Charles Babbage, a brilliant mathematician. Babbage was born in 1791. He worked out plans for several calculating machines which he called ‘engines’. But he never finished any of them. Recently, however, the Science Museum in London has finished building an engine based on one of Babbage’s designs. It has taken six years to complete and more than four thousand parts have been specially made. Whether it works or not, the machine will be on show at a special exhibition in the Science Museum to remind people of Babbage’s work.

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