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The First Computers



In 1930 the first analog computer was built by American named Vannevar Bush. This device was used in World War II to help aim guns.

Many technical developments of electronic digital computers took place in the 1940s and 1950s. Mark I, the name given to the first digital computer, was completed in 1944. The man responsible for this invention was Professor Howard Aiken. This was the first machine that could figure out long lists of mathematical problems at a very fast rate.

In 1946 two engineers at the University of Pennsilvania, J.Eckert and J.Maushly, built their digital computer with vacuum tubes. They named their new invention ENIAC (the Electronic Numerical Integrator and Calculator).

Another important achievement in developing computers came in 1947, when John von Neumann developed the idea of keeping instructions for the computer inside the computer's memory. The contribution of John von Neumann was particularly significant. As contrasted with Babbage's analytical engine, which was designed to store only data, von Neumann's machine, called the Electronic Discrete Variable Computer, or EDVAC, was able to store both data and instructions. He also contributed to the idea of storing data and instructions in a binary code that uses only ones and zeros. This simplified computer design. Thus computers use two conditions, high voltage, and low voltage, to translate the symbols by which we commu­nicate into unique combinations of electrical pulses. We refer these combinations as codes.

Neumann's stored program computer as well as other ma­chines of that time were made possible by the invention of the vacuum tube that could control and amplify electronic signals. Early computers, using vacuum tubes, could perform computations in thousandths of seconds, called milliseconds, instead of seconds required by mechanical devices.

Divide the text into the logical parts and give a title to each one.

Put questions to the text.

Discuss it with your groupmates.

Unit 3

Text Study: Three Basic Capabilities of a Computer.

Additional Text: Visions of Tomorrow.

Grammar: The Future Continuous Tense.

Text Study

I. Pre-reading Exercises

1. Repeat the words in chorus:

An intricate, network, to magnetize, to accept, to supply, remarkable, capabilities, addition, subtraction, division, multiplication and exponentiation, a cathode-ray-tube, unfortunately, achievements, instantaneously.

2. While reading the text you will come across a number of international words. Try to guess what Ukrainian words they remind of you:



Characters (symbols), basic, idea, signals, information, a program, mathematical, logical, operations, results, user, terminals, diskettes, disks, instructions.

3. Pay attention to some grammatical points:

1) The machine is capable of storing and manipulating numbers, letters, and characters (symbols). 2) The basic job of computers is processing of information. 3) The program, or part of it, which tells the comput­ers what to doand the data, which provide the information needed to solve the problem, are kept inside the computer in a place called memory. 4) Some of the most common methods of inputting information are to use terminals, diskettes, disks and magnetic tapes. 5) A computer can solve a series of problems and makethousands of logical decisions without becoming tired. 6) It can find the solution to a problem in a fraction of the time it takes a human being to do the job. 7) A computer cannot do anything unless a person tells it what to do and gives it the necessary information; but because electric pulses can move at the speed of light, a computer can carry out great numbers of arithmetic-logical operations almost instantaneously.

II. Reading

Read the text and be ready to find in the text the answers to the following questions:

· What is computer?

· What are three basic capabilities of a computer?





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