While it is utterly impossible to fully explore the history of computers in this short article, we do touch on some interesting moments in the history of computers. Of course, if you are interested in finding out more about the history of computers after reading this brief expose on the history of computers, we strongly encourage you to visit your neighborhood bookseller or library. Both the bookstore and the library will have a wealth of information on the history of computers. You’ll see that the history of computers involves everything from everyday light bulbs to programming languages.
In 1936, the American psychologist Benjamin Burack from Chicago constructed what was probably the world’s first electrical logic machine. Burack’s device used light bulbs to display the logical relationships between a collection of switches, but for some reason he didn’t publish anything about his work until 1949.
The first true general-purpose electronic computer was the electronic numerical integrator and computer (ENIAC), which was constructed at the University of Pennsylvania between 1943 and 1946.
The world’s first microprocessor was the 4004. The ‘4’s were used to indicate that the device had a 4-bit data path. The 4004 was part of a four-chip system which also consisted of a 256-byte ROM, a 32-bit RAM, and a 10-bit shift register. The 4004 itself contained approximately 2,300 transistors and could execute 60,000 operations per second.
In April 1975, Bill Gates and Paul Allen founded Microsoft (which was to achieve a certain notoriety over the coming years), and in July of that year, MITS announced the availability of BASIC 2.0 on the Altair 8800. This BASIC interpreter, which was written by Gates and Allen, was the first reasonably high-level computer language program to be made available on a home computer.
In March 1976, two guys called Steve Wozniak and Steve Jobs (who had been fired with enthusiasm by the Altair 8800) finished work on a home-grown 6502-based computer which they called the Apple 1 (a few weeks later they formed the Apple Computer Company on April Fools day).
Of course, we have merely touched on a few moments in the history of computers. There are so many other interesting moments in the journey from the most basic forms of computing to what is on the market today.
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