anthony morris

History of Computing


First Generation Hardware (1951-1959)

  • Vacuum tubes
    • Large
    • Not reliable
    • Lots of heat
  • Magnetic drum
    • Memory device that rotated under read/write head
    • When memory cell was under head, data could be read/written
    • Very manual
  • Card readers --> magnetic tape drives
    • Card readers that read holes punched in a card
    • Sequential auxiliary storage devices
    • Audio cassettes

Second Generation Hardware (1959-1965)

  • Transistor
    • Replaced vacuum tube
    • Fast, small, durable, cheap
    • Nobel prize was rewarded for invention
  • Magnetic cores
    • Replaced magnetic drums
    • Information is available instantly
    • CPU no longer has to wait for drum to get to proper place to read/write
  • Magnetic disks
    • Replaced magnetic tape
    • Data accessed directly
    • Faster because you can refer to location of data

Third Generation Hardware (1965-1971)

  • Integrated circuits
    • Replaced circuit boards
    • Smaller, cheaper, faster, more reliable
    • Solid silicon containing transistors and other components
    • Boards were printed
  • Transistors
    • Now used for memory construction
    • One transistor = one bit of information
  • Terminal
    • Input/output device with keyboard and screen
    • Direct access to computer + immediate response

Fourth Generation Hardware (1971-Present)

  • Large-scale integration (LSI)
    • Great advances in chip tech
  • PCs, commercial market, workstations
    • Computers become affordable
    • Huge companies like Apple, Sun, Dell, etc.
  • Laptops, tablets, and smart phones
    • A computer in everyone's hands
  • Parallel computing
  • Networking
    • Ethernet used to connect computers
    • Resources can be shared over the network
  • Cloud computing
    • Use of computer resources on the Internet


First Generation Software (1951-1959)

  • Machine language
    • Computer programs written in binary
  • Assembly languages and translators
    • Programs written using mnemonics
    • Mnemonics get translated to machine code
  • Programmers split into two groups
    • Application programmers
    • Systems programmers

Second Generation Software (1959-1956)

Third Generation Software (1965-1971)

  • Systems software
    • Humans were too slow
    • Put computer resources under control of the computer
      • Operating systems decide what to run and when
  • Separation between users and hardware
    • Software is being written for general public

Fourth Generation Software (1971–1989)

  • Structured programming
  • New application software for users
    • Spreadsheets
    • Word processors
    • DBMS

Fifth Generation Software (1990-Present)

  • Microsoft dominates the market
  • OOP
    • Hierarchy of data objects
    • Java, etc.
  • World Wide Web
  • New users
    • Don't need computer knowledge to benefit

Computing as a Tool

Computing as a Discipline

  • What can be efficiently automated?
    • Four necessary skills:
      • Algorithmic thinking
      • Representation

Computer Science History